Time Crunch is Stealing Healthy Years from Canadians - February 2014

A mix of real and perceived barriers contribute to shortened lifespan

By The Heart and Stroke Foundation

Okanagan heart and stroke foundation


Canadians are so focused on the here and now that they are losing out on the opportunity to live a full and healthy life, warns the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). Its new survey of more than 2,000 adults found that even though Canadians know how to protect their heart health, the majority fail to do so because they can’t or won’t commit the time needed.

“Eight out of 10 Canadians know that heart disease and stroke can be prevented, postponed or treated by making healthy lifestyle choices but they are focusing on the barriers rather than the opportunities,” says David Sculthorpe, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.


  • Almost half of Canadians (46%) cite long work days and lack of time as a reason for not getting active on a regular basis.
  • Between work, family and other obligations, 44% say they have no time for regular physical activity.
  • Forty-one per cent of respondents say healthy meals take too long to prepare.


“Tackling the time dilemma is absolutely critical,” says Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist and HSFC spokesperson. “The disturbing statistics tell the tale: One in three Canadian deaths is from heart disease and stroke, and it is the number one killer of women.”

What’s more, some of the barriers to healthier living cited by survey respondents may be more perceived than real.

 While it’s true that Canadians face a number of time crunches, Statistics Canada, reports that almost a third (29%) of those 20 years or older spend two or more hours a day (15 or more hours a week) watching television. And 15% of Canadians age 20 and over report spending at least 1.5 hours a day of leisure time on their computers.

“Some of the time spent in sedentary leisure activities could easily be devoted to more active and healthy pursuits,” said Dr. Abramson. “Those who say they have no time should take comfort in the knowledge that stints of 10 minutes are beneficial.”

When it comes to food preparation, there are many ways to save time; these start with planning meals for a week, picking recipes, making a grocery list and sticking to it. The Foundation’s Health Check program helps Canadians make healthy choices by identifying them in grocery stores and restaurants.


Meanwhile, the benefits of finding time for healthier living are clear:

•   Getting 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity per week reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes by30 %.

•   Eating 5+ servings of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by about 20%.

•   Controlling high blood pressure can cut the risk of stroke by 40% and of heart attack by up to 25%.

 “We all need to carve out time to take the simple steps that can prevent the devastating effects of heart disease and stroke,” added Sculthorpe. “We know our goal can only be achieved through solutions found in partnership with the Foundation, governments and Canadians.”

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy.

The Heart and Stroke  FoundationThe Heart and Stroke 's Bio: The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based organization, 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. Okanagan Area Office: 4-1551 Sutherland Ave, Kelowna BC V1Y 9M9, Phone: 250-860-6275 - The Heart and Stroke Foundation Website - Email

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