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Stroke Campaign Launched

People 55+ urged to join stroke prevention program

SIMCOE, ON, FEB. 11, 2009 – Haldimand and Norfolk residents aged 55 plus are being urged to join a stroke prevention program being launched in April by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

“Up to 80 per cent of heart disease, stroke and type-two diabetes could be prevented by eliminating their shared risk factors, such as tobacco use, unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, stress, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol,” said the Health Unit’s Anna Glowala, Health Promoter for Stroke Prevention.

“Our ‘Step Up to a Healthier You’ program is open to anyone, but we are targeting adults 55 or over,” she said. “We’ll have a kick-off event in April followed by educational sessions in May that will be interactive, easy to follow and help our community build on important skills and resources necessary for reducing risk factors for stroke. This will be an excellent chance for our mature adult population to learn lifestyle practices leading to healthier, longer lives.”

The campaign, being funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion, follows results of The Canadian Community Health Survey citing some “troubling facts about older adults in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties,” Glowala explained:

  • 51.5 per cent consume less than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • 56.8 per cent are inactive (leisure time physical activity).
  • 15.9 per cent smoke daily or occasionally.
  • 32.7 per cent have high blood pressure.
  • 48.5 per cent regularly drink alcohol.
  • 42.1 per cent are overweight.

“These statistics confirm the need for a primary stroke prevention initiative in our community,” Glowala emphasized. “Current stroke services in this area focus mainly on secondary stroke prevention, helping patients who are stroke survivors. Very few services are directed at preventing stroke before it happens, which makes this opportunity to develop a stroke prevention program very exciting.”

By participating, registrants will not only be making healthy lifestyle changes, they will be reducing their chances of stroke and chronic disease, Glowala noted.

“Having a history of stroke in my family, I know first hand how devastating a stroke can be, not just on the individual but on the whole family,” she pointed out. “On the other hand, I also see how it could have been prevented.”

Media Contact:
Anna Glowala, Health Promoter for Stroke Prevention, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3257 or 905-328-6623 Ext. 3257 or anna.glowala@hnhu.org