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Newsletter. Issue 2004-22. Oct. 30, 2004
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Health & Wellness

A lifesaving prescription - in 30 minutes
CALGARY, Oct. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Metabolic syndrome is a condition that is affecting thousands of Canadians and is putting them at risk of heart disease and stroke, especially those aged 50 and over.
But the latest information from a Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher shows that the way to avoid metabolic syndrome is relatively simple - 30 minutes of physical activity once a week. (The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that Canadians be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most, preferably all, days of the week)
Once a week sounds easy, but do we have the willpower to use the exercise prescription?
Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk is betting that we do. According to the evidence he presented today, at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Calgary, the alternative is just too grim to consider.
Metabolic Syndrome is defined as the presence of three or more out of five key risk factors for heart disease and stroke in one person. People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of heart disease, stroke or type-2 diabetes.
"Each risk factor, on its own, may require treatment but may not appear to be life-threatening. Put three out of five of these 'low-grade" symptoms together and you have a recipe for potential heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Katzmarzyk, associate professor of kinesiology at the School of Physical and Health Education at Queen's University, Kingston.
The risk factors are:

  • Abdominal obesity: waist circumference greater than 102 cm (40 inches) for men, greater than 88 cm (35 inches) for women.
  • Elevated levels of triglycerides (blood fats) (greater than or equal to 1.7 mmol/L).
  • Low levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or good cholesterol) (less than 1.0 mmol/L for men, less than 1.2 mmol/L for women)
  • High blood pressure (greater than or equal to 130 mmHg systolic and/or 85 mmHg diastolic)
  • Impaired fasting glucose (greater than or equal to 6.1 mmol/L)


Over age 50, the figures - and the risk of heart attack and stroke - begin to soar, according to Dr. Alexander Sorisky, a Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher in endocrinology and metabolism at The Ottawa Hospital - Civic Campus.
"Credible studies suggest that metabolic syndrome can double or even triple the risk of dying from coronary heart disease," says Dr. Sorisky. Heart and Stroke Foundation researchers Dr. Sonia Anand and Dr. Salim Yusuf of McMaster University have established a Canadian prevalence rate for metabolic syndrome of 25.8% but warn that this changes dramatically by ethnic group. For example the rate is 41.6% among first nations' people, 25.9% among South Asian, 22% among South Asians and Europeans and 11% among Chinese.

Dr. Katzmarzyk's study is based on data from the Canadian Heart Health Surveys of 4,750 men and 4,812 women aged 18-74 years in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
The study participants were classified as physically active if they participated in physical activity at least once a week for 30 minutes. Individuals who were active had half the risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to those who were inactive.

"These results show that physical activity is an extremely potent medicine. This is another reason for Canadians to get out and be active - just a little effort can really protect your health," he says.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Congress is the largest meeting of cardiovascular health professionals in Canada, with 3,000 attendees. The Congress is hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

New physical activity strategy means healthier Ontarians ACTIVE2010 Creates More Fitness Opportunities, Helps Get Ontarians Moving
TORONTO, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - ACTIVE2010, a comprehensive new strategy to get more Ontarians physically active, will contribute to a better quality of life for Ontarians by helping them become more active and participate in sports, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"We marked our first year in office by releasing a progress report on our plan for Ontario - one that is all about strengthening our province's greatest competitive advantage: our people," said Premier McGuinty. "It's a plan to strengthen their education and skills, improve people's health and ensure our prosperity. ACTIVE2010 supports all of these priorities."
The government is investing $5 million a year in ACTIVE2010, to improve awareness of the benefits of physical activity and motivate people to get active. This will boost our total funding to the sport and recreation sector to more than $20 million annually. It includes a campaign directed at 10- to 14-year-olds to promote a lifetime of fitness and one at 45- to 65-year-olds to encourage the benefits of exercise.
The program will also help remove barriers that prevent people from participating in sport and recreation programs - particularly low-income children, older adults and people with a disability.
As part of the program, a Communities In Action Fund will provide increased support for physical activity projects and local sports programs. Premier McGuinty, joined by Tourism and Recreation Minister Jim Bradley, today awarded the first grant - $125,000 to Variety Village to provide adapted physical education classes to 600 students with disabilities from schools around the Greater Toronto Area.
"Currently, less than half of Ontarians are physically active on a regular basis," said Minister Bradley. "We want to remove the barriers to participation and encourage people to get more active and healthy."
Physical inactivity costs Ontario's health care system about $1.8 billion every year. Studies show 56 per cent of children over age 12 are not getting the health benefits associated with an active lifestyle. Many stop participating in sports when they enter their teens. Similarly, approximately 60 per cent of older adults are inactive.
"I know for a lot of us, it's hard to find the time and the energy to be physically active every day, but I encourage Ontarians to get moving and get fit," said Premier McGuinty. "By working together, and playing together, we can ensure healthier, more active lifestyles and a quality of life that is second to none."

Retirement falls short for many Canadians
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2004/21/c3099.html?view=print
RBC Poll shows managing cash flow a top priority for retirees, while those approaching retirement are feeling the care-giving squeeze
TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Managing cash flow is a top priority for Canadian retirees according to an RBC Financial Group survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid. Specifically, those approaching retirement are feeling the pressure of the "care-giving squeeze": Providing care for their parents and their children while trying to save enough for retirement.

The Care-Giving Squeeze Many Canadians heading toward retirement are feeling the pressure of looking after their parents and/or supporting their children. Fifty-six per cent of non-retirees surveyed agree "I worry that on a fixed income after retirement I won't be able to enjoy the lifestyle I am accustomed to."
"Baby boomers are especially concerned about how to generate enough income from their investments when they retire, given the conflicting demands
on their cash flow, and their desire to have a comfortable retirement," says Nadine Girault, national manager, client strategies for RBC Royal Bank. According to the survey, almost half (47 per cent) of non-retirees agree:
"Because of the financial burden of taking care of my children I have not put away enough money for my retirement." One-third (31 per cent) agree:
"Because of the financial burden of taking care of my aging parents I have not put away enough money for my retirement."

Cash flow a top priority The RBC/Ipsos-Reid survey found that two-thirds (63 per cent) of retirees agree with the statement: "Since retiring, managing my cash flow has been the top priority." Four in ten (40 per cent) retired Canadians "strongly agree" with that statement. Forty-seven per cent of retirees agree: "On a fixed income after retirement, I am now not able to enjoy the lifestyle I was accustomed to before."
"After a decade of low interest rates, many investors continue to
experience the challenge of generating sufficient income or attractive returns on fixed-income investments," says Ms. Girault. "Modest interest rate increases in the short term will do little to alleviate their concerns, and will leave many investors wondering what approach to take."

Warmer climates still a dream for most retirees Soon-to-be retired Canadians are three times more likely to say they dream of spending winters in a warmer climate as the proportion of retirees who actually do so. While slightly more than half (54 per cent) of non- retirees say they dream of spending winters in a warmer climate after they retire, just 19 per cent of retirees agree that "since retiring, I have spent winters in a warmer climate."
"The costs and complexities of travel or living across borders during retirement can initially seem prohibitive," says Ms. Girault. "The goal is to simplify the process and ensure you have the resources and the flexibility to spend your retirement the way you imagined."
Seven in ten (68 per cent) Canadians not yet retired agree that "the best thing about being retired is travelling."


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