Activate is designed to prevent high blood pressure, the #1 risk for stroke and a leading risk factor for heart disease.
TORONTO, May 10, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, Heart & Stroke began expanding its successful Activate program to include the Ottawa area, with a goal to enroll participants across Ontario by the end of June. In partnership with local YMCAs and Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart), Activate is a six-month wellness program that uses exercise, nutrition counselling and incentives to help at-risk people from developing hypertension (high blood pressure).
Currently, 7.5 million Canadians have high blood pressure, the #1 risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. More than 66,000 people die every year from heart disease and stroke in Canada.
"The results of Phase 1 of Activate were very exciting," says Erin Kim, Heart & Stroke's director in charge of the program. We had more than 90% of 500 people complete the program, and blood pressure readings for 112 of these people showed an average 5 mmHg drop in the systolic rate."
The target for success was set by cardiologists at no increase in blood pressure readings, but an overall decrease is even more desirable. Without intervention, half of pre-hypertensive people in Canada over age 60 will go on to develop high blood pressure within four years.
"Not only did we meet our goal, but we surpassed it." Kim added.
Activate is designed to encourage people to eat better, move more, and manage stress to lower their blood pressure. The program provides incentives including a free two-month YMCA membership, PC Optimum points for healthy behaviour, a personal online health coach, and online support to help participants meet their goals. Heart & Stroke is proud to be working with Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart), NexJ Health, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and the YMCA to deliver the program.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with Heart & Stroke to deliver this critical program," says Bob Gallagher, CEO at the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region. "We believe that this program, combined with a free membership and the supportive community at our Ys, will help encourage participants to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle changes."
"Up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented," said Doug Roth, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer and Head of Social Enterprise, Canada, Heart & Stroke. "Our objective is to sign up 7,000 people over three years in Ontario and BC and support them in making small changes to help prevent the onset of high blood pressure. Long-term, we hope to expand this program to other provinces by working with provincial governments, and other partners across Canada."
- Must be 40 years old or over.
- Must be pre-hypertensive which means high-normal blood pressure, measuring between 121 and 139 mmHg systolic.
- Must not be on any blood pressure medication.
Funding for Activate comes from a pay-for-success (PFS) model or social impact bond (SIB). Working closely with the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, Heart & Stroke has attracted philanthropically-minded private investors to provide upfront capital. The federal government, through the Public Health Agency of Canada, repays the investors based on successful outcomes.
For more information on the program go to heartandstroke.ca/activate.
About Heart & Stroke
Life. We don't want you to miss it. That's why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don't miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.
About the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region
The YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities. We are committed to nurturing the potential of children, teens and young adults, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community. We serve more than 80,000 people across the Ottawa region annually. Our focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means we serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Through our financial assistance programs, the Y is accessible to all.
SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation
For further information: Media Contact: Teresa Roncon, Sr. Manager, Communications, Heart & Stroke, T647-943-3060, C416-937-5307, email@example.com