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Make Ontario the healthiest province 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through:

  • the advancement of research and its application;
  • the promotion of healthy living; and
  • advocacy

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is working to Make Ontario the Healthiest Province in Canada by investing in Research, the Promotion of Healthy Living and Advocacy to help prevent risk factors that lead to chronic diseases, like heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease and stroke takes 1 in 3 before their time. Every 20 minutes, someone in Ontario dies of heart disease or stroke. Left unchecked, by 2036, more than 3.3 million people (26%) of the Ontario adult population will have hypertension, a leading risk factor of heart disease and stroke. There are approximately 6,000 cardiovascular disease-related deaths in Ontario each year. That’s too many lives cut short and the future looks grim. Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last 25 years and currently 28% of Ontario’s children are overweight or obese. This crisis will fall on our children’s generation to solve unless our political leaders act now. The real tragedy is that up to 80% of heart disease and stroke onset can be prevented so that Ontarians can live longer, fuller lives.

Tackling childhood obesity – Spark Together for Healthy Kids™

We believe that every child deserves the right to grow up healthy - to play, be active and eat healthy affordable foods. Heart&Stroke Spark Together for Healthy Kids™ turns this belief into action by helping communities to advocate for sustainable change to make healthier eating and physical activity more accessible and affordable. 

At its heart are the Spark Advocacy Grants which provide financial support to community groups to advocate for sustainable change. The grants are used by community groups to partner with likeminded organizations to advocate for real and lasting improvements where kids live, learn and play. This means safer walking and cycling routes to school, more recreational progra­ms and nutrition education. From bustling cities to quiet rural towns, inspiring stories of grassroots action are emerging from Ontario communities. Read about these grant projects and watch the videos on the Spark website at heartandstroke.ca/spark. Watch inspiring Spark Advocacy Grant Videos. The energy of the movement can also be felt on our Facebook page where the conversation is vibrant and growing. 

Advocacy in Action - Heart and Stroke HPS

The Heart and Stroke Foundation employs Health Promotion Specialists (HPS) who promote healthy living and conduct advocacy work in regions across Ontario at the community level. Our HPS team is working actively to engage the community and broader public to get involved in the Healthiest Province campaign. The HPS team meet with MPPs and nominated candidates to advocate for increased focus and spending on Health Promotion, as well as encouraging public debate within their respective communities.

For more information or to get involved, please contact advocacy@hsf.on.ca.

Advocating for a smoke free world

A long-time advocate for tough anti-tobacco legislation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has been instrumental in leading public education and advocacy campaigns, as well as establishing partnerships with government, health officials and non-governmental organizations to strengthen tobacco control legislation and regulations affecting factors such as second-hand smoke, marketing, health cost recovery litigation and contraband tobacco.

To ensure the smoke-free movement continues to gain momentum, the Foundation is working with government – international, national and provincial – and other like-minded organizations towards the ultimate goal of a smoke-free world.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is actively working on prevention measures to address issues like childhood obesity, hypertension and tobacco use. We have also created several tools for individuals and communities to use to become healthier.

Addressing hypertension

High blood pressure is the most prevalent chronic disease in Canada. It is the number one modifiable risk factor for strokes and among the top modifiable risk factors for heart attacks. HSFO’s High Blood Pressure Strategy committed almost $15 million to a 5-year strategy towards achieving optimal blood pressure management in Ontario to dramatically improve the future health of Canadians.

The High Blood Pressure Strategy included three major components:

  1. Primary Care Healthcare Provider programs (the Hypertension Management Initiative and the Aboriginal Hypertension Management Program) 
  2. A prevalence study of hypertension in Ontarians (ON-BP)
  3. Research in two emerging areas of hypertension – systolic blood pressure in people 45 years and older, and the social determinants of high blood pressure

Other key elements of the High Blood Pressure Strategy included evaluation; improved functionality of the consumer e-tool on blood pressure, My Heart&Stroke Blood Pressure Action Plan and advocacy to implement system changes to improve the patient treatment and health outcomes of Ontarians.

Tools

Heart&Stroke eTools for a Healthier You

These easy-to-use eTools can help you lead a healthier life. You'll be able to set and achieve goals to manage your blood pressure or achieve a healthy weight and keep track of important details such as medications and appointments. Sign up for any or all of the eTools, depending on your needs.

Shaping Healthy Active Communities Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to help individuals and organizations make their communities more supportive of physical activity through active, healthy community design.

Read our reports on Canadians’ Health:

Denial putting Canadians at high risk of cutting their lives short (2011)

A perfect storm of Heart Disease Looming on our Horizon (2010)