On March 7, 2012, the Chief Public Health Office released its first Annual Report which provides a snapshot of the health of Islanders.
The report shows that at a time when we’re facing historic lows in federal health care funding, unprecedented growth in health care costs and an aging population, our health care system is facing some real challenges.
Islanders have the highest rate of obesity and are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases compared to the rest of the country.
Our immunization rates are low.
One in every five Islanders has been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Our children will be the first generation with a shorter life expectancy than their parents due to obesity and inactivity if we do not do something now.
We cannot continue down this path.
As Minister, I recognize the challenges we are facing in our health care system.
Reducing the burden on our health care system by improving overall public health is the most effective way to ensure sustainability of our health care system.
Our government is committed to providing Islanders with the tools they need to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
We’re investing in healthy eating and after school programs to get kids moving.
We’re investing in programs to help Islanders with high blood pressure and lung disease learn to manage the symptoms of their chronic illness.
The strategic investments this government have made are strengthening the foundation of what will be a quality, integrated, sustainable, safe and accessible health care system for generations to come.
But we cannot do it alone.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It’s time that all Islanders begin to take responsibility for our own health and the steps to live healthier and more active lives.