Heart Month, February 2017
February is Heart Month, a time to bring attention to the importance of cardiovascular health, and what we can to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada.
We can all reduce our risk of heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices, including quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels. To help Canadians make some of these lifestyle changes, the Government of Canada is supporting innovative programs and partnerships like Run to Quit, Carrot Rewards, APPLE Schools and Kid Food Nation, in communities across Canada. These initiatives support healthy living and help to prevent chronic diseases in all ages.
We are also taking steps to help Canadians make healthier food choices. Last fall, I launched a Healthy Eating Strategy and announced that we were updating the Canada Food Guide to reflect the latest scientific evidence and to be more relevant and accessible to Canadians. The Healthy Eating Strategy also outlines how we will meet our commitments on strengthening nutrition and ingredient labelling, including sugars and food colours; reducing sodium in foods; eliminating industrially produced trans fat; and restricting marketing to children.
We also need to continue to reduce smoking rates, particularly among youth, and so tobacco control is a key priority for this Government. We've proposed new vaping legislation, and taken action to ban the use of menthol flavouring in cigarettes, blunt wraps, and most cigars sold in Canada. We've also committed to introducing plain packaging requirements for tobacco products, and I will soon be hosting a national forum to discuss the future of tobacco control with Canadians and stakeholders.
Beyond healthy choices, cardiovascular disease is also influenced by biological and other risk factors, we also need to invest in research in this area. That's why we're continuing to support research projects to improve our understanding of certain heart conditions and help guide the development of new treatments and prevention techniques.
During Heart Month, I encourage all Canadians to take the opportunity to learn more about the risks factors for heart disease and what can be done to prevent it. Making one small change towards a healthier lifestyle can make a big difference.
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.