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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2011PREM0057-000590

May 24, 2011

Office of the Premier
Ministry of Health
BC Medical Association

 

 

Premier Clark launches strategy for healthy families

 

VANCOUVER – Premier Christy Clark today launched the most comprehensive health-promotion program anywhere in Canada – the $68.7-million Healthy Families BC strategy, which will help families make healthy choices and introduce innovative approaches to challenges facing the health care system.

 

“We are putting families first by investing in programs that give at-risk British Columbians access to supports and incentives to help them improve their health and the health of their families,” said Premier Clark.   “This program will enhance and modify existing tools to help physicians better assess and make long-term care plans for patients who may be at risk of health complications like chronic disease. It’s just the first step in Healthy Families BC, which will provide new supports to help British Columbians be healthier in every part of their lives.”

 

The first program launched in the strategy, the $24-million Prescription for Health program, will give B.C. doctors additional tools to conduct medical assessments and work with patients to develop a health promotion and illness prevention plan that best suits their medical needs and personal situation. Patients may identify a lifestyle change goal, which will be documented by the physician on a Prescription for Health.

 

Prescription for Health is available to patients with one or more of the following risk factors: smoking; unhealthy eating (excess calories, fat or sodium in their diet); physical inactivity (less than 30 minutes of activity several times per week); and medical obesity (a body mass index of 30 or more).

 

“It is shocking to think that today’s kids may be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents – and this program is focused on providing B.C. families with the tools they need to take charge of their own health,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong. “Making healthy lifestyle choices is not always easy, but through this program, patients will have access to a variety of supports to help them set and achieve realistic health goals.”

 

The program was developed in partnership with the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC). GPSC is a joint committee of the Ministry of Health and the BC Medical Association that focuses on better supporting family physicians and community-level patient care throughout the province.

 


 

“This is a well considered plan – a smorgasbord of options for patients and their doctors, to help with selecting goals and making healthier lifestyle choices,” said Dr Ian Gillespie, president of the BC Medical Association. “The dividends earned by participating in the Prescription for Health program will benefit families in many ways.  It will also reduce our province's burden of illness and the associated healthcare costs, especially those related to chronic diseases in an aging population.”

 

The patient’s Prescription for Health may refer them to free-of-charge telephone-based lifestyle support services to help patients achieve their individual lifestyle change goals. Examples of lifestyle support programs include the Physical Activity Line, Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC, QuitNow Services, a tobacco-cessation service and information resource, the Patient Voices Network peer coaching program, self-management programs and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health program.

 

As an incentive, 50,000 participating patients will be eligible for a subsidy of up to $50 toward programs such as a gym membership, physical activity-based recreation programs or personal nutritional programs.

 

Over the coming months, the healthy families strategy will focus on a variety of measures to encourage British Columbians to lead healthier lives where they live, work and play. Of the $68.7 million allocated for this strategy, the Province is working with health authorities to re-prioritize $45 million of health authority spending to focus on prevention initiatives that align with this strategy.

 

Healthy Families BC will support British Columbians in managing their own health, reducing chronic disease and ensuring that pregnancy and support programs target the province’s most vulnerable families. Additionally, the strategy will continue to focus on healthy eating initiatives, including a public awareness campaign around sodium and sweetened beverage reduction as well as a provincial restaurant recognition program to promote healthy eating options.

 

A strengthened provincial strategy and investment in prevention can improve the health of British Columbians and potentially avoid up to $2 billion in yearly health-care costs, according to a report released in September 2010 by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall. Obesity alone costs up to $830 million a year to the economy.

 

For more information on Healthy Families BC or Prescription for Health, please visit www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca

 

Contacts:

Chris Olsen

Press Secretary

Office of the Premier

604 220-1640

 

Ryan Jabs

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)

 

Sharon Shore

Senior Manager of Communications and Media Relations

BC Medical Association

604 638-2832 or 604 306-1866

BACKGROUNDER

 

 

Healthy Families BC

 

British Columbia is recognized as a leader for introducing innovative approaches to challenges facing the health care system. This has included the introduction of patient-focused funding, a comprehensive primary care strategy, encouraging back office consolidation and implementing a new model of generic drug coverage.

 

Despite these accomplishments, the province faces significant challenges in controlling health-care costs. Chronic disease is the single largest burden on the health of British Columbians and the health care system, while obesity has been tagged as the second-highest preventable cause of this burden.

 

Without decisive efforts to address these issues, the province will see an increase in rates of heart disease, stroke, adult onset diabetes, cancer, arthritis and chronic respiratory diseases – all of which can be prevented or delayed. There is increasing evidence that demonstrates addressing these issues can significantly improve health and avoid related health care costs.

 

To address these issues, the Ministry is launching a four-pronged Healthy Families BC strategy to support families and communities in the following key areas:

·         Healthy Lifestyles – supporting British Columbians in managing their own health and reducing chronic disease by working with physicians to ensure consistent delivery of proven prevention initiatives.

·         Healthy Eating – initiatives aimed at supporting healthy choices, in the home, the school and the community and creating environments that support the provision of healthier foods and make their choice easier.

·         Healthy Start – helping the most vulnerable families in British Columbia get the best start in life.

·         Healthy Communities– encouraging British Columbians to lead healthier lives where they live, work, learn and play.

 

 


 

BACKGROUNDER

 

 

Healthy living supports for B.C. families

 

As part of Prescription for Health, participating patients may be referred to free-of-charge telephone-based lifestyle support services designed to support patients in achieving their individual lifestyle change goal. Resources included in the program are:

 

Physical Activity Line

Toll free: 1 877 725-1149

www.PhysicalActivityLine.com

 

Staffed by Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology certified exercise physiologists, the Physical Activity Line (PAL) is a free telephone and online resource that offers physical activity and healthy living information to both the public and health professionals. PAL offers guidance on becoming more physically active, overcoming barriers, and staying motivated. PAL will provide you with the most up-to-date, trusted physical activity and health information. PAL’s telephone services are available Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

QuitNow Services

Toll free: 1 877 455-2233

www.QuitNow.ca

 

QuitNow, delivered through the BC Lung Association, provides a wide range of free smoking cessation services that are available around the clock for all B.C. residents. Trained care coaches will help develop a quit plan, deal with cravings and provide on-going support. QuitNow is available by phone, online or through a new, free 14-week mobile texting service.

 

Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC

Call 8-1-1 and ask to speak with a dietitian

www.HealthLinkBC.ca/dietitian

 

Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC is a telephone-based service that offers free nutrition information and advice to the residents of B.C. Registered dietitians help callers meet their personal nutrition goals to maintain a healthy lifestyle and/or manage chronic conditions. If more in-depth or continuing nutrition care is needed, callers are guided to hospital outpatient dietitians, community nutritionists or other local nutrition services. Translation services are available in over 130 languages.

 


 

Patient Voices Network Peer Coaching Program

Toll free: 1 888 742-1772

www.patientvoices.ca

 

The Peer Coaching program is a six-session telephone-based program led by trained peer coaches who support and motivate participants to set and reach healthy living goals in the following areas: getting more exercise, eating a healthier diet, losing weight or reducing or stopping smoking. The Peer Coaching program does not cover mental health issues like anxiety or depression, alcohol or drug use, or employment/career coaching. The Peer Coaching program is led by ImpactBC in collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s Patients as Partner’s program.

 

Self-Management Programs

Toll free 1 866 902-3767, Lower Mainland 604 940-1273

email: selfmanagement@eastlink.ca

www.selfmanagementbc.ca

 

Self-management programs, supported by the University of Victoria, are peer-led patient education programs offered in communities across British Columbia. Several programs are available, including: chronic disease, diabetes, arthritis/fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Trained peer leaders meet with groups of 10 to 16 individuals for two-and-a-half hours once a week for six consecutive weeks. Other programs include a Matter of Balance, targeted at older adults to reduce fear of falling, and Active Choices, a six-month program to encourage people to exercise. The program follows an interactive format and is delivered in community settings like senior centres, libraries and recreation centres.

 

Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health

Toll free: 1 866 639-0522

www.bouncebackbc.ca

 

Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health is a free, skill-building program for adults experiencing low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. The program offers two forms of self-help: an instructional DVD, with practical tips on recognizing and dealing with depressive symptoms, and a workbook-based program with motivational telephone coaching to teach cognitive-behavioural skills for overcoming difficulties such as inactivity, unhelpful thinking, worry and avoidance. Bounce Back is accessible by doctor’s referral and is offered throughout B.C. by the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division.


 

BACKGROUNDER

 

Quick facts on the health of British Columbians

 

                    About 2,000 British Columbians die prematurely every year due to obesity-related illnesses such as heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes.

                    The proportion of obese children in Canada has nearly tripled in the last 25 years, Around 26 per cent of Canadian youth aged 12-17 years old are classified as overweight or obese.

                    B.C. has the lowest adult obesity rates in Canada at about 45 per cent.

                    One in three British Columbians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime with about 23,000 new cancer patients in B.C. projected in 2011 – a number that is growing.

                    The estimated number of new cancer diagnoses in British Columbia for 2011 is 23,000 growing around 30 per cent to 31,000 in 2021.

                    Approximately one in three British Columbians now has at least one confirmed chronic condition.

                    While people with chronic conditions represent approximately 34 per cent of the population, these individuals consume approximately 80 per cent of the combined Medical Services Plan, PharmaCare, and acute care budgets of around $3.25 billion.

                    As a result of the shifting demographic towards an older age group, it is projected that the prevalence of chronic conditions could increase 58 per cent over the next 25 years.

                    Tobacco-related illness is the leading cause of preventable death in British Columbia.

                    Tobacco use causes up to 6,000 deaths in the province each year, including over 100 non-smokers who die from diseases caused by second-hand smoke.

                    Smoking kills more people in British Columbia than all other drugs, motor vehicle collisions, murder, suicide and HIV/AIDS combined.

 

Contacts:

Chris Olsen

Press Secretary

Office of the Premier

604 220-1640

 

Ryan Jabs

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)

 

Sharon Shore

Senior Manager of Communications and Media Relations

BC Medical Association

604 638-2832 or 604 306-1866

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect