Heart and Stroke Foundation Disappointed by Short Sighted Federal Budget

OTTAWA, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) is concerned with the lack of any substantive funding in support of heart health initiatives as outlined in today's 2010 Federal Budget.

"The federal government claims the budget is all about fiscal sustainability and economic growth and at the same time does virtually nothing to address the tidal wave of chronic diseases facing this country," says Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Cardiovascular disease alone costs the Canadian economy over $22 billion per year in health care costs and lost productivity and the worst is yet to come given the poor heart health of boomers and young Canadians."

Despite previous commitments from this government, the budget has failed to adequately address heart disease and stroke - the leading cause of death of women and men in this country, and the leading cause of hospitalizations and prescription drug costs.

The Foundation's 2010 annual report on the health of Canadians warned that a "perfect storm" of risk factors and demographic changes are converging to create an unprecedented burden, leaving no Canadian young or old unaffected. In addition, these risk factors contribute to other vascular related diseases including diabetes, chronic kidney disease, dementia, Alzheimer's, macular degeneration (partial blindness), and possibly multiple sclerosis.

The federal government spent $2.5 million of taxpayers' dollars to bring together experts and consult with Canadians in order to develop a road map to turn the tide in heart disease and stroke. It's called the Canadian Heart Health Strategy and Action Plan and it was completed in February 2009. A recent analysis released by the Conference Board of Canada demonstrated Canada would save $76 billion over the next ten years if we met even half of the strategy's targets.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation provided the federal government with a limited number of strategic, cost effective investments it could take to significantly improve Canadian's heart health, even in this economic climate.

"Sadly, all well-intentioned efforts to enhance productivity and improve the health of our economy cannot succeed, if we don't improve the future health of Canadians," says Brown.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation

For further information: For further information: Eileen Melnick McCarthy, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, (613) 569-4361 ext. 318, emelnick@hsf.ca

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