New Poll Supports Prompt Alberta Government Action on Wellness
November 10, 2014
A strong majority of Albertans believe that the Alberta government should make wellness a top priority through greater investments in injury and disease prevention—and over 80 per cent of these supporters say he should take action to do so within the next year.
These findings were identified in a new public opinion survey undertaken in September by Leger research intelligence group on behalf of Wellness Alberta. The survey indicated 69 per cent of Albertans want to see wellness as a priority focus.
“Albertans want the Prentice government to take strong action on wellness—as soon as possible,” said Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, public health professor at the University of Alberta. “Injuries and chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes are filling our hospitals and are placing a tremendous burden on individuals, families, communities and employers. These illnesses and injuries are largely preventable—but the government needs to increase its investment now in proactive strategies to keep more Albertans healthy and out of the health care system. Effective wellness initiatives can significantly improve Albertan’s quality of life and reduce demands on healthcare.”
Currently the Alberta government invests approximately one per cent of the total health care budget on initiatives to reduce risk factors associated with chronic disease and injury like physical inactivity, poor nutrition, substance abuse, and adverse childhood experiences. The Leger survey shows that Albertans want the government to dedicate more funding to disease and injury prevention.
“Seventy percent of Albertans surveyed want the Prentice government to at least double the current investment in disease and injury prevention,” said Kate Chidester with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “I can’t think of a more important government investment than measures to improve the health and quality of life of Albertans.” Chidester believes that the survey results provide the Prentice government with further justification to make a significant new investment in the health of Albertans. “It’s time to make wellness a top priority and provide the resources needed to achieve meaningful results. We encourage the Prentice government to invest wisely in prevention and wellness”.
Wellness Alberta is a coalition of over 100 organizations calling for the formation of an independent wellness foundation that would provide sustainable funding to promote wellness initiatives across Alberta. The foundation would be funded through an annual government investment of $170 million per year—an amount equivalent to one per cent of the total annual Alberta health budget.
The Leger online survey of 1,005 Albertans was conducted during the week of September 15 and is accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.