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Fewer than 1 in 10 Canadians in ideal cardiovascular health

youth, at least 1 hour of walking or 20 minutes running/jogging each day

  • Fruit and vegetable consumption: at least five times a day

  • Hypertension: no high blood pressure

  • Diabetes: no diabetes

    The good news? Over the study period, more people were eating fruits and vegetables at least five or more times a day, there was a trend toward increasing physical activity (about 0.5% each year), and smoking decreased each year. The bad news? Increasing trends of overweight/obesity, hypertension and diabetes in adults and overweight/obesity in youth.

    Women had better heart health scores than men and were three times more likely to be in ideal heart health between the ages of 40 and 49 years than men. More than one-third (37.3%) of Canadian adults were in poor cardiovascular health, and only 9.4% were in ideal cardiovascular health. For youth, about half (49.7%) were in poor cardiovascular health with only 16.6% in ideal cardiovascular health.

    As people aged, heart health decreased, perhaps because of weight gain and development of hypertension and diabetes as reported in previous studies.

    "Ninety per cent of Canadians have at least one heart health risk factor that could be modified by addressing behaviours that can affect cardiac risk," says Dr. Tu.

    People in British Columbia scored the highest; the lowest scores, denoting the poorest cardiovascular health, were in Newfoundland and Labrador on the east coast. The trend toward poorer heart health was consistent from west to east.

    Reducing Canadians' risk is more urgent than ever, because heart disease and stroke still take one life every seven minutes in Canada.

    "Up to 80% of premature heart disease is preventable," says Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada President Bobbe Wood. "Unfortunately, almost 4 in 10 of us are in poor health. The good news is that by adopting healthy behaviour now, many Canadians can considerabl

  • Contact: Kim Barnhardt
    613-520-7116 x2224
    Canadian Medical Association Journal

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