Heart Health isn’t to be taken lightly! Ischemic heart disease claims nearly 20,000 Ontario lives each year – more than any other cause of death. It is the #1 killer of both women and men, responsible for nearly one in every four deaths. It strikes many people in the prime of life. Both Hastings and Prince Edward counties have been identified as heart disease “hot spots” with the death rate from heart attacks significantly higher than the provincial average.
While some risk factors for heart disease, such as increasing age, cannot be changed, we know that we can reduce our risk of heart disease by being active, eating well, and being smoke free. These are key determinants of our health and quality of life. Even small changes toward a more heart healthy lifestyle can make a difference. Simple first steps like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or choosing a lower fat milk (2% or less) can become part of our everyday routine. Making heart healthy choices is within our grasp and can lead to increased energy, stress reduction, and improved physical and mental health.
How does the Heart Health program work?
Heart Health Hastings Prince Edward is a community partnership of individuals, groups and agencies who support heart healthy lifestyles by encouraging people to:
The project is guided by a Steering Committee with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health ($67,855 each year for five years) and in-kind contributions from the community partners. There are a number of Working Groups involved in planning, implementing and evaluating heart health promoting activities in schools, workplaces and the community, throughout Hastings and Prince Edward counties and Murray Ward.
We are always interested in having new members and ideas. If you live in Hastings County, Prince Edward County or Murray Ward and would like to get involved with one of our working groups to help plan for heart health activities, please let us know.
Who are the partners?
There are many agencies and individuals who support our vision of a heart healthy community. The program involves many partners in Working Groups and community initiatives, and it is guided by a Steering Committee which includes representatives of the following organizations:
- Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
- Council for a Tobacco Free Hastings & Prince Edward
- Gateway Community Health Centre
- Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit
- Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board
- Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario
- Quinte Health Care
Heart Health in the Workplace
Why promote healthy living in the workplace?
Efforts in the workplace that increase healthy living make good sense, since 13 million Canadians spend about half of their waking hours at work.
|Ensuring healthier employees means:||This in turn can lead to:|
From management’s perspective, having healthy employees is a definite plus. Healthy employees are sick less often and recover from illness faster. They are more efficient, energetic, alert, less prone to injuries, and more able to handle stress.
From the employees’ perspective, the benefits of having access to health programming are many. Better eating habits, lowering smoking rates, and improved working conditions are positive results. Most important, healthy people feel more in control of their lives and that kind of attitude has positive benefits on and off the job.
Promoting health in the workplace does not have to be complicated, expensive, or time consuming. Several ideas are included in this section of our Web site.
Workplace Working Group
The Heart Health Hastings Prince Edward Workplace Working Group includes members from General Mills Bakeries & Food Services, Halla Climate Control Ltd., Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Invar Manufacturing Ltd., Mobil Chemical Canada Ltd., Norampac Inc. Trenton Division, Nortel, Proctor & Gamble Inc., Stream International, UBF Foodsolutions a Division of Unilever Canada, and other interested individuals.
Working group members are concerned about the health of adults and share an understanding that there is a close link between employee health and healthy workplaces. We meet regularly to plan activities to help workplaces become more heart healthy. New members are always welcome.
The Heart Health program has three Active Living Kits available:
Get Up & Go Bingo gives a broad new slant to a popular leisure activity. The program plays bingo with active bodies. There are four cards that have a familiar look, but each square has a different suggestion for a physical activity. The 12 most popular physical activities of Canadians are featured on the cards with heart health and sun sense tips integrated into the message. Get Up & Go Bingo also promotes the social aspects of physical activity to encourage people to be active with their friends and family. This kit includes: seasonal bingo cards; a notice for newsletter, pay stub, or e-mail; Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for Adults; prizes; and promotional posters. So let’s Get Up & Go!
The Coast to Coast Challenge is a way to have fun and promote team spirit among employees. The goal for the workplace is to accumulate enough kilometers to cross Canada. Employees track their minutes of physical activity individually and add them to the group total. The total kilometers can be charted on a map of Canada. This kit includes: a ‘ how to do it’ page, log cards for participants to track their physical activity, a map of Canada, promotional posters, Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for Adults, and prizes.
The Physical Activity Challenge can be used with a large group or a small group of participants. The Challenge can be run individually or in teams. The goal for each employee is to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, every day, for the duration of the Challenge. Employees track their time on a log card and submit the card for a chance to win prizes. Employees can get active individually, in pairs, or in groups. The kit includes: log cards, ‘how to’ steps for organizing both the Individual Challenge and the Team Challenge, promotional posters, Canada’s Physical Activity Guide for Adults, and prizes.
Other Ideas for Promoting Heart Health
Making small changes can reduce your risk of heart disease and allow you to enjoy better health now and in the future. Here are a few ways to promote the heart health messages: Be Active, Eat Well, and Be Smoke Free.
|Check the vending machine at work; make sure there are some healthy choices available.|
|Have a healthy snack available in your desk.|
|Drink six to eight glasses of water a day.|
|Hold a heart healthy pot luck and share the recipes.|
|Keep fruit ready to go in a bowl on the table.|
|Turn coffee breaks into walking breaks.|
|Park your car at the furthest end of the parking lot, and walk.|
|Take the stairs instead of the elevator or at least for one floor.|
|Walk or ride a bike to work.|
|Go for a power walk at noon with a friend or co-worker.|
|Teach someone a new physical activity.|
|Start a Physical Activity club at work and do something new or different every week.|
|In bad weather use local facilities, such as the mall, to take walks.|
|Have meetings on the go.|
|Take stretch breaks during meetings.|
|Contract your stomach and back muscles while sitting.|
|Roll your shoulders and stretch your neck while sitting at the computer.|
Be Smoke Free
|Make reservations at local smoke-free restaurants for lunch.|
|Thank restauranteurs and other smoke-free places for being smoke-free.|
|Encourage your employer to create a smoke-free workplace.|
|Call the Health Unit for pamphlets on smoking and its risks.|
|Join the ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) working group to promote smoke-free public places. Call (613) 966-5513 ext. 273|
|If you smoke, take it outside.|