Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability in Canada. Nova Scotia has the highest age specific death rates attributable to CVD in the country mainly because of higher rates of ischemic heart disease (Nair, Colburn, MacLean & Petrasovits, 1989 ). The Nova Scotia Heart Health Survey (1986) revealed a high prevalence of the known modifiable risk factors for CVD (high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, regular cigarette smoking, overweight and sedentary lifestyle) and a high prevalence of multiple risk for CVD, throughout the province, with two thirds of the adult population having one or more of the major risk factors.

The survey also disclosed that a substantial proportion of the population had little understanding of the causes of heart disease and the ways it could be prevented. The report concluded that the high rates of CVD in Nova Scotia result from unhealthy characteristics of daily life.

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