CALGARY, April 3, 2012 /CNW/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, is presenting the University of Calgary's Dr. Norm Campbell with the Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Initiative this evening in Calgary.
Through the Research Chair, Dr. Campbell will create strategies and partnerships that will significantly increase Canadians' awareness about high blood pressure, decrease its incidence through prevention strategies, and improve the overall management of the disease.
"This work will have a significant impact on improving the health of Canadians," says Bobbe Wood, president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Hypertension - high blood pressure - is the leading risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. Dr. Campbell's outstanding leadership in this field is an important part of our goal to reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke by 25 per cent by 2020."
About one in five adult Canadians has high blood pressure and another 20 per cent have pre-hypertension.
Over the next five years Dr. Campbell will:
- Improve awareness, prevention, and control of high blood pressure;
- Identify gaps in translation of research knowledge ─ from evidence to practice ─ for hypertension prevention, treatment, and control; and
- Develop and evaluate new policies, programs, and interventions aimed at reducing the burden and/or impact of high blood pressure.
"Hypertension is a serious condition - but the good news is that it is both preventable and controllable. Eating more vegetables and fruits, reducing salt, exercising, reducing stress - these are simple steps that Canadians can take to reduce their blood pressure," said Dr. Jean Rouleau, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.
"I know that Dr. Campbell will help lead the charge to promote such preventive measures. On behalf of CIHR, I congratulate him and wish him continued success."
Dr Campbell is a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. He is also the chair of the Canadian Hypertension Education Advisory Committee.
As a passionate advocate for reducing the amount of salt in our food supply, Dr. Campbell has already made significant inroads in tacking high blood pressure.
His passion is sustained by the increasing recognition that it is one of our top healthcare challenges. "It is the leading risk for premature death in the world," he says. "We know what we need to do to reduce its burden and I am committed to making it happen."
In reducing high blood pressure, the scope of the challenge is vast, touching on public policy, more rapid screening and diagnosis, health care systems, the way communities are built, food industry practices, and more. It's a complex challenge but Dr. Campbell is optimistic.
"From working with national organizations and committed individuals who are like-minded," he says, "I believe we can - and will - create a healthier Canada."
For instance, we know that sodium (salt) is a major contributor to high blood pressure. Processed foods ─ including fast foods, prepared meals, processed meats, condiments, and canned and packaged foods ─ account for 77 per cent of the salt we consume.
One problem is that the 'default food choice'− readily available everywhere from grocery stores to food courts − is often the unhealthy choice. "People can eat as unhealthy as they want," he says, "but the default choice, the easy choice, should be healthy food and that is often not readily available."
Estimates are that almost one in three - that's two million - Canadians with high blood pressure would have normal blood pressure if there was less salt in our food. In fact, if Canadians reduced their salt intake by about ¾ tsp a day, we could prevent approximately one in seven deaths from stroke and one in 11 from heart attack.
"Salt is everywhere and it's harming our health," adds Dr. Campbell. "Reducing salt and tobacco use are estimated to be two of the most cost effective interventions to improve health in the world."
The Research Chair will be officially presented this evening during the University of Calgary Research Lab Tours.
Since 1956, the Foundation has contributed more than $1.3 billion to research. This investment in research has made a significant impact. Since 1952, the cardiovascular death rate in Canada has declined by more than 75 per cent - and nearly 40 per cent in the last decade alone - largely due to research advances in surgical procedures, drug therapies and prevention efforts.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation works with government, industry, health partners, and through our Health Check™ food information program to reduce sodium in our foods, and to remind Canadians of the link between nutrition and risk factors for heart disease and stroke. To meet Health Check criteria 14 companies removed 800,000 kg of salt from their products in just four years. The Foundation also continues to fund and support research to improve healthy eating.
|Media are invited to attend the award ceremony|
|WHAT:||University of Calgary Lab Tours|
|WHEN:||Tuesday April 3, 2012 from 6:15 to 6:45 pm.|
|| University of Calgary Foothills Campus
Teaching Research and Wellness (TRW) Building (3280 Hospital Drive NW)
Media parking is available in the TRW Underground Parking
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its applications, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy. www.heartandstroke.ca
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
For further information:
For media interviews:
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Canadian Institutes of Health Research