Health Canada

Health Canada

October 25, 2007 15:02 ET

Health Canada Tackles Cardiovascular Disease Through Development of Sodium Working Group

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2007) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, today announced the Government of Canada will establish an expert Sodium Working Group to explore options for reducing sodium intake and cardiovascular disease among Canadians.

"Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death for Canadians, and sodium intake is one of the largest controllable factors that contribute to these diseases," said Minister Clement. "Through the formation of this working group, our Government is taking a major step in helping Canadians improve their health, and the health of their families."

Earlier this year, Health Canada released a revised Canada's Food Guide
that advised Canadians to use the Nutrition Facts table to help choose
foods lower in sodium.

"This is a wonderful demonstration of the government's leadership in forming collaborations to improve the health of Canadians to prevent stroke, heart and kidney disease -- three of the major causes of death and disability in Canada," says Dr. Norm Campbell, president of Blood Pressure Canada. "Here we have everyone working together for common cause."

The Department is now taking another important step to show national leadership on this issue by working with experts from across the country to explore options for reducing the overall consumption of sodium by Canadians. Letters seeking participation from stakeholders across the country will be issued shortly and it is expected that this working group will be meeting by the end of the year to begin their work.

Recent estimates indicate that over half of Canadians have high sodium intakes, mainly from commercially prepared foods, putting them at risk for high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. According to data from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, as many as 90%

of men over the age of 19, and 65% of women, exceed the level of sodium at which potential risk of adverse effects increase. Similar high intakes are seen in young children and adolescents: more than 90% of children aged 4-8 and 97% of adolescent boys and more than 80% of adolescent girls exceed the UL for sodium.

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Contact Information

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    Federal Minister of Health
    Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
    Laryssa Waler
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