January 30, 2004

February is Heart Health Month

NEWMARKET - February is Heart Health Month and York Region Health Services reminds residents that adopting a heart healthy lifestyle can reduce one's risk of heart disease and stroke.


Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Canada (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2003) and recent statistics show that 33% of all deaths in York Region were caused by cardiovascular diseases (York Region Health Status Report 2002: A Measure of Health). It is estimated that one out of every four Canadians have some form of heart disease, disease of blood vessels or is at risk for stroke (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2003).


As the population ages, Canadians will become more vulnerable to heart disease and stroke.  Adopting a heart healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.  A heart healthy lifestyle includes being physically active, making healthy food choices, living tobacco-free, maintaining a healthy weight and successfully managing stress.  Here are some tips to help you live a heart healthy lifestyle:


Active Living

Active living doesn't have to mean spending hours at the gym or buying expensive exercise equipment.  It means doing activities you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.  If you do regular physical activity, you will achieve many health benefits such as improved fitness, stronger muscles and bones, increased self-esteem, healthy body weight and stress reduction.


Include physical activities into your daily routine.  Consider doing several activities during the day in periods of at least 10 minutes each.  Start slowly and build up.  If you are already doing some light activities such as walking, move up to more moderate ones such as swimming or dancing.  Every little bit counts.  A little is good, but more is better.


Healthy Eating

You can eat healthy by following Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating and enjoying a variety of foods.  Emphasize cereals, breads, other grain products, vegetables and fruit.  Choose lower-fat dairy products, leaner meats and foods prepared with little or no fat.  Limit your intake of salt, alcohol and caffeine.  Following these guidelines will help you feel great, stay well and achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.


Tobacco-Free Living

Tobacco use causes more deaths and serious illnesses in Ontario than any other health hazards.  The good news is that the negative effects of tobacco can be reduced when you practice smoke-free living.  This means avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke at home, work and play.  Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are especially vulnerable.  And if you smoke, consider quitting.  Remember, within four weeks of quitting, blood circulation improves and the  

lungs work better.  After one year of quitting, the risk of heart disease is only half that of smokers.  Smoke-free living is an important step in protecting your health and the health of your family.


Stress Reduction

Your stress level has a great effect on your health.  Too much negative stress can weaken the immune system, elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Becoming aware of your stressors and learning how to effectively deal with them will enable you to get on the right track for a healthier lifestyle.



For more information and resources on living a heart healthy lifestyle, visit the Heart Health display at the following community library locations:


Date of Display


January 30 February 6, 2004

Milliken Mills Community Library

7600 Kennedy Road, Unit 1


January 30 February 6, 2004

Newmarket Public Library

438 Park Avenue


February 2 February 9, 2004

Bathurst Clark Public Library

900 Clark Avenue West


February 6 February 13, 2004

Maple Public Library

10190 Keele Street


February 13 February 20, 2004

Aurora Public Library

15145 Yonge Street


February 20 February 27, 2004

Richmond Hill Public Library

1 Atkinson Street

Richmond Hill


For more information on heart health or other health-related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.region.york.on.ca.



Contact:                       Wendy Lewis, York Region Corporate Communications Services

                                    905-830-4444 Ext. 1238


The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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