The Heart and Stroke Foundation has launched a free mobile app to help Canadians make important lifestyle changes that could add years to their lives.
“We want to help Canadians take their heart health seriously,” says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Heart disease and stroke are a leading cause of death. We know that nine out of 10 adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Our new app gives Canadians the power to take control of their health and lower their risks.”
40% of Canadians have three or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke. But there is good news: 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable.
Overcoming unhealthy habits and reducing risk factors can be overwhelming. The app’s features, such as tracking of progress, reminders, and positive reinforcement and social support ensure that the user is able to sustain the recommended healthy behaviours.
“Diet, physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, being smoke-free and reducing stress are just a few of the keys in taking control,” says Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist and spokesperson for the foundation. “This app is a virtual trainer, nutritionist and cheerleader wrapped up together. It gives you one healthy action a day. This quickly adds up to 30 healthy actions—putting you on the path to a lifetime of healthy choices.”
Every day the iPhone app delivers a focused, easy-to-do challenge that channels the user’s motivators. Users are rewarded with electronic “badges” when they reach new milestones. Digital badges can be used for online bragging rights on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The app helps users inventory their health and risk factors by completing a mini-assessment. They then prioritize the risk factors that are most important to them and highlight what motivates them most.