Life Long Wellness

Life Long Wellness maximizes quality of life and minimizes disease, disability, discomfort, and distress throughout the life cycle.

Chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are the leading causes of death in Winnipeg and represent a modern epidemic in terms of premature death, disability, and health care costs. The WRHA with community partners, is leading the development and coordination of initiatives centered around comprehensive primary prevention and health promotion activities. These initiatives have promising potential to reduce the significant burden of chronic conditions and improve the overall health of the population.

Position Statement on Healthy Living

MISSION
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) mission is to deliver and administer health services in Winnipeg Region and to promote and protect health. The WRHA will improve health and well-being by leading Winnipeg's health services and building partnerships with the community.

VISION
The WRHA's vision is to lead with innovative and cost effective health education and injury prevention programs. The WRHA will have a holistic approach that embraces all the factors that influence health and well-being. The WRHA will work with people and communities and will lead effective partnerships with other health care providers, the government and the public.

HEALTH
Health is more than merely the absence of disease. It includes a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.

WRHA Position

  • Because physical activity, good nutrition and positive mental health are fundamentally essential determinants of optimum health and wellness, and are required for the prevention of chronic disease and promotion of health.

  • And because achieving conditions that support people to live active, healthy lives requires the collaboration of many sectors.

  • And because health promotion involves the population as a whole and is oriented towards building strengths, resources, knowledge and assets for health with the people and communities involved.

The WRHA supports and will continue to support the ongoing efforts of individuals, families, communities, volunteers, schools and recreation and sport communities to promote active, healthy living.

To that end, the WRHA is committed to

  • Working with the Healthy Living* key settings of homes, families, schools, workplaces, communities, and health care settings.

  • Expanding partnerships that promote physical activity, healthy nutrition and positive mental health for the prevention of chronic disease and promotion of health.

  • Enhancing support for active, healthy living within WRHA workplaces.

  • Developing a multifaceted communication plan to provide strategic, consistent and timely health messages to the public about healthy living.

Background Information to WRHA Position Statement

Sedentary living, poor eating habits, overweight and obesity are increasingly implicated in the major causes of death, illness and disability, especially cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. These chronic diseases along with others have common preventable risk factors including physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

Chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death in Winnipeg and represent a modern epidemic in terms of premature death, disability and health care costs. Comprehensive primary prevention and health promotion activities have promising potential to reduce the significant burden of chronic conditions and improve overall health of the population.

Mental health is an important part of health and wellness. Emotional well-being is a strong predicator of physical health. Mental health issues can be found at many points throughout the lifecycle. Living with chronic illness such as heart disease or cancer has mental health implications. There is an interdependent relationship between physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health. Health promotion activities can positively impact overall health and well-being.

Chronic conditions and mental health difficulties are responsible for a large burden of morbidity, mortality and health care costs.

  • Two-thirds of all deaths result from four groups of chronic conditions (cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory).

  • 1 in 10 Canadians aged 15 and older was depressed, chronically anxious or addicted to drugs or alcohol in 2001.

  • The cost of chronic disease in Canada exceeds $80 billion annually.

  • Health Canada estimates that in 1998 mental disorders cost $4.7 billion.

Obesity is a major risk factor

  • The prevalence of overweight among Canadian children increased from 15% in 1981 to 29% in 1996 for boys and from 15% to 24% for girls.

  • The prevalence of childhood obesity more than doubled from 1981-1996, from 5% to 12.5%.

  • The health care cost of obesity in Canada was estimated at $1.8 billion in 1997.

  • 32% of adults (20 years and over) in the Winnipeg Health Region (WHR) are considered overweight.

  • 10% of all WHR residents are considered obese (8% of females and 12% of males).

  • Only 30% of the WHR population 12 years and older report eating the Canada Food Guide recommended servings of fruits and vegetables (5 or more per day)

  • 70% of food advertising is for convenience foods, candy, snacks, alcohol, soft drinks and desserts.

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor

  • 55% of Manitoba children are not active enough for optimal growth and development.

  • 21,000 Canadian lives were lost prematurely in 1995 due to physical inactivity.

  • Physical inactivity was estimated to incur $2.1 billion in direct health care costs in Canada in 1999.

  • 61% of Manitobans (1998/99) are not physically active for optimal health benefits.

  • 59% of Winnipeg Health Region residents are classified as inactive (1996).

  • 45% of people with mental illness have concurrent physical illness (most commonly respiratory and cardio-vascular conditions).

Physical activity, good nutrition and positive mental health are essential to the maintenance of optimal health and wellness

  • A 10% reduction in physical inactivity would reduce health expenditures by $150 million/year in Canada.

  • Regular activity is associated with enhanced physical and mental health and reduced risk of mortality.

  • Regular physical activity has therapeutic value in the treatment and management of chronic conditions and mental health conditions.

  • Good mental health and well-being is associated with physical health and a positive quality of life.

  • Opportunities to be physically active exist within the activities of day to day living around work, transportation, domestic activities and leisure time.

The importance of physical activity and healthy eating is recognized in the *Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy, which is currently being developed though a federal / provincial / territorial process.

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