November 08, 2006 13:31 ET

CDPAC/Canada Cannot Cope Now With Chronic Disease and is not Ready for the Tidal Wave in the Next Decade:

Call to Action Says Help the Worst, First

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 8, 2006) - Canada's health care system cannot cope now, and is not prepared for the next decade when a tidal wave of chronic diseases will become overwhelming. A Call to Action from over 500 experts says Canada must help the worst, first, by addressing children in poverty and Aboriginal populations.

The Call to Action was issued by experts in chronic disease prevention from across Canada at the Building it Together Conference sponsored by the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC) attended by over 500 people representing researchers, practitioners and policy-makers on cancer, heart disease and diabetes, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco control, public health and obesity. There were also experts on community planning, agriculture, transportation, urbanization, education, school health and health inequities.

"One in six Canadian children lives in poverty, and First Nations and Inuit suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes at a rate much higher than the general population," said CDPAC Conference Chair Dr. Catherine Donovan. "This is what we mean by helping the worst, first. The evidence is clear that poverty and chronic disease are related. It is time to radically reduce family and child poverty in Canada!"

Dr. Donovan went on to say that the Canadian economy and health care system cannot afford the $80 billion a year now spent on chronic diseases, and that the country is not ready for the dramatic increase projected over the next ten years.

"We may well be condemning our children to shorter life expectancy than their parents, for the first time ever in North America," said CDPAC Steering Committee Chair Stephen Samis. "Chronic diseases are affecting people at younger and younger ages and we see alarming trends that this will continue, unless we act now."

The Call to Action emphasizes the need for communities that are designed to encourage health: communities that are safe, clean, and walkable, with high quality, culturally appropriate and accessible foods and public services such as transit and recreational facilities. Schools have an essential role to play in creating a healthy environment conducive to learning, with an emphasis on nutritious foods and physical activity. The war on tobacco is not over: the Call to Action supports efforts to keep youth from smoking and cessation programs for those who are ready to quit.

A backgrounder on the health and economic burden of chronic disease is available under the "Newsroom" button at

Contact Information

  • Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada
    Pamela Kern
    Cell.: 613-796-9771