November 01, 2006 08:00 ET

Chronic Disease Prevention Requires Coordinated Effort on Policy, Programs and Communities

National Conference to Examine Ways to Build an Effective Prevention System

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 1, 2006) - Individuals, governments, employers and schools must recognize the importance of working together on policies, programs and building communities that help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illness. This coordinated effort will be the focus for participants at the second national conference hosted by the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC). Some 400 researchers, policy makers and practitioners from the many sectors that have a role to play in preventing chronic disease will join forces at the Building it Together conference in Ottawa, November 5-8, to tackle issues and generate solutions to reduce chronic diseases - the majority of which are preventable.

Conference speakers and panel participants include The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones, Ontario Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson and Allan Gregg, Chairman of The Strategic Counsel and host of TVO's In Conversation With.

"We are building on our first successful conference and our efforts since then to make chronic disease prevention a health care priority with sustained funding and a dedicated effort by the many partners involved in making policies, delivering programs and creating communities for healthier populations," said Conference Chair Dr. Catherine Donovan, who is also Chair of the Provincial Wellness Advisory Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The Government of Canada has begun to recognize the importance of chronic disease prevention with some funding at the federal level," said CDPAC Steering Committee Chair Stephen Samis, who is also Director of Policy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "But we must do better and make chronic disease prevention a priority. This involves partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments to help reduce the burden of chronic disease through effective legislation, strong public policies, support for the people who deliver prevention programs at all levels and the promotion of healthy communities. Our call to action also reminds employers and educators that they have a key role to play in chronic disease prevention in the workplace and in schools."

Approximately 400 people will attend Building it Together. They are leaders in chronic disease prevention across Canada, representing researchers, practitioners and policy-makers on cancer, heart disease and diabetes, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco control, public health and obesity. Major factors in chronic disease prevention are also represented by experts in community planning, agriculture, transportation, urbanization, education, school health and health inequities.

Among the Conference highlights are the opening on November 5th, when a panel of experts will examine if Canada is advancing in the prevention of chronic disease. Health Minister Tony Clement will present the welcoming address on Monday, November 6th.

Other highlights include a panel on income, food and health; recent findings on obesity in Canada from Statistics Canada; and the question of whether governments can do more to influence consumer purchasing behaviour through tax policies that encourage healthier choices.

CDPAC was organized in 2002 as a coalition to support integrated chronic disease prevention as a health care priority, and has over 60 member organizations and networks representing more than 100 individual organizations. The Conference is part of CDPAC's national call to action to engage individuals, all levels of government, organizations, employers and schools in chronic disease prevention.

Media are invited to attend the Conference, November 5-8 at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa. A media room is available for the duration of the Conference. Interviews with CDPAC Steering Committee members, as well as other key participants, can be arranged leading up to, and during, the Conference.

Available by fax or email before the Conference are interview ideas and a backgrounder on the health and economic burden of chronic disease. The Conference program is available at Media kits are available on site.

Contact Information

  • Media liaison:
    Pamela Kern
    Pre-Conference: 613-841-5454
    During the Conference: 613-560-7327
    Cell: 613-796-9771