Well, since February is Heart Month, I was pretty darned chuffed to read that my own westernmost province of British Columbia has placed first overall in the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s annual Canadian report card this year. We were also first in the Smoke Free and Healthy Weight categories. We took second place in Physical Activity just behind those rugged fitness freaks of the Yukon, and we tied for second with Alberta in the Fruit & Veggie Consumption category (the Quebecois ranked first here, despite that poutine et tarte au sucre stereotype!)
And who fared worse? Alas, the 30,000+ citizens of Nunavut, Canada’s largest territory high in the Arctic, were 13th overall out of 13 combined health behaviours, including 13th in Smoke-Free, Physical Activity and Fruits & Veggies. This is a very serious concern for health care professionals, and here’s why:
The Heart and Stroke Foundation warns that this report card is a “perfect storm” of heart disease looming on our horizon, not only for Nunavut but for all Canadians.
“In a very short time, the face of heart disease in Canada has changed to include groups that have historically been immune to the threats of heart disease,” says Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist and spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “But the combination of new groups at-risk of heart disease and the explosion of unhealthy habits across Canada have accelerated the impact of these threats which are now converging and erasing the progress we’ve made in treating heart disease over the last 50 years.”
The signs of this impending crisis are clearly evident, according to this report. For example, between 1994 and 2005:
- rates of high blood pressure among Canadians young and old skyrocketed by 77%
- diabetes increased by 45%
- obesity increased by 18%
Among those 35 to 49 years of age:
- prevalence of high blood pressure increased by 127%
- diabetes increased by 64%
- obesity increased by 20%
The new at-risk populations include:
- young Canadian adults in their 20s and 30s
- women between the ages of 35 and 45
- Boomers (50-64)
- some of Canada’s growing ethno-cultural communities
- Aboriginal Peoples, who are experiencing a full-blown cardiovascular crisis
Find out how your province fared in this full report. You can also subscribe free to the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s monthly newsletter, Healthlines, or subscribe free to weekly heart-smart lifestyle improvement tips in Heartbeats.
4 thoughts on “How does your province rank among heart-healthy Canadians?”
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My teenage son is getting very over weight and has been told by doctors that he needs to lose 40 pounds. This has scared and motivated the whole family. We have a new years resolution for 2010 to exercise 4 times per week, swimming or skating, more walking to work/school and less driving, and also we have increased our vegetables every day, cut way back on all desserts and sugars, and substituted fruit or almonds for all between meal snacking. Also, lots more water.
Even his sisters who are not overweight are noticing how much better they are feeling overall. This is good for everybody, not just those who look unhealthy. Thanks for letting us know about this “report card” – it motivated us to plan our own family report card at the end of this year.
Very thought provoking article. The report you refer to is startling, but before my own experience I did not pay very much attention to heart health.
That has of course changed for me, but I am watchful of my wife and friends. Surprising differences between male and female symptoms for heart attacks and strokes. Something else I was not aware of before last year.
Anyway, just want to say terrific job on this site.