Desjardins, Heart&Stroke bridge heart health gap with informative
TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians are underestimating
their heart health risks, indicates a comparison study of Desjardins
Insurance's health survey and data collected by the Heart and Stroke
Foundation. The results show that people generally evaluate their
health positively when responding to non-specific questions about their
lifestyle, but responses to more specific questions demonstrates that
their behaviours may not be as healthy as they believe.
An online survey of over 2,000 Canadians commissioned by Desjardins
Insurance asked respondents how much they agreed with general
statements such as "You have a healthy body weight," "You usually get
enough exercise to be healthy," and "Your alcohol consumption is not
high enough to negatively impact your health." The results were
compared to those from a sample of anonymous and consented respondents
to an online tool with similar profiles (in terms of age, sex,
education, income and region) to the survey sample.*
The Risk Assessment asks for specific information, including height and
weight, and poses questions such as "Are you moderately active at work
or at home for at least 30 to 60 minutes, four or more days of the
week?" and " Typically, do you have more than one or two alcoholic
drinks a day or 14 drinks a week?"
For example, the Desjardins Insurance survey revealed that 60 percent of
respondents felt that they had a healthy weight. By contrast, when
weight and height data from the similar profile of participants in the
Risk Assessment was analyzed, it showed that 60 percent were actually
overweight or obese.
There were a number of other major discrepancies between the two sets of
data that should raise concerns:
While 71 percent of Desjardins Insurance survey respondents claim that
their diet is healthy, only 47 percent of the Risk Assessment sample
ate sufficient fruits and vegetables each week.
Only 11 percent of men in the Desjardins Insurance survey felt that
their drinking negatively impacted their health, but 31 percent of men
in the Risk Assessment sample drank more than the recommended amount.
In the Desjardins Insurance survey, 60 percent of respondents felt they
exercised enough to be healthy but that number dropped 10 points when
Risk Assessment respondents were asked about their specific exercise
"The results of the comparison were striking," said Marie-Josee Labelle,
director of marketing, Individual Insurance and Savings at Desjardins
Insurance. "There seems to be a substantial difference between how
Canadians view their health and what the experts recommend as a healthy
The discrepancy between the two results supports the latest Heart and
Stroke Foundation Report on Canadian's Health, titled Reality Check.
"The report alerts baby boomers to new data that shows they think they
are living healthier lives than they really are. It urges boomers to
address five risk areas - physical inactivity, poor diet, smoking,
excessive alcohol and stress," says David Sculthorpe, CEO, Heart and
Stroke Foundation, Canada.
With Desjardins' help, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is promoting its
Risk Assessment tool, which evaluates heart healthy behaviours. When
the questionnaire is completed, the tool generates a customized
analysis of the respondent's risk factors and provides tips to help
reduce them. "It's an incredible tool," says Labelle at Desjardins
Insurance. "Since the risk of heart disease and stroke can be reduced
by as much as 80 percent through healthy lifestyle choices, making
changes can make a big difference to the health of many Canadians."
"February is Heart Month, which is the perfect time to identify your own
risk factors and to learn how to change them," says Labelle. "And we
are very proud to partner with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to
support their tools for Canadians that do exactly that."
To learn more about your risk for heart disease and how to reduce it,
visit the Risk Assessment tool.
*This tool, the My Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment™, was created by the
Heart and Stroke Foundation to help people learn more about their risk
of heart disease and stroke.
About Desjardins Insurance
Desjardins Insurance has been offering a wide range of life and health insurance and
retirement savings products to individuals, groups and businesses for
more than a century. As one of Canada's five largest life insurers,
they oversee the financial security of over five million Canadians from
offices across the country. Desjardins Insurance is part of Desjardins
Group, the country's leading cooperative financial group. Desjardins
Insurance refers to Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance
Company, a provider of life and health insurance and retirement savings
About the survey
SOM Surveys, Opinion Polls and Marketing conducted this web survey on
behalf of Desjardins Financial Security from August 27 to September 5,
2012. In total, 2,088 questionnaires were completed with a sample of
Canadian web panellists aged 18 years and over.
About the My Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment™
The Risk Assessment is an online tool developed by the Heart and Stroke
Foundation which helps Canadians understand and manage their risk of
heart disease and stroke by asking them to respond to a series of
questions about their lifestyle and behaviours. The data collected is
anonymous and consented and no personal data is collected or shared
through the tool.
About the Heart and Stroke Foundation
Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in
eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the
advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy
living and advocacy. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.
Together we will make it happen.
SOURCE: DESJARDINS GROUP
For further information:
Information (for journalists only):
Sarah Twomey, Media Relations Advisor
416-926-2700 or 1-877-906-5551, ext. 2015