WATCH: Lisa McDonnell, lead author and program manager at the Heart Institute, discusses the study which suggests that a majority of Canadian women don’t know about what causes the chronic condition
TORONTO — Can you name the risk factors for heart disease? A new study suggests that a majority of Canadian women don’t know about what causes the chronic condition, its symptoms and their own susceptibility to the disease.
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In Canada, heart disease is a leading cause of death in both men and women. But when University of Ottawa Heart Institute scientists asked Canadian women what causes the disease, less than half were able to identify the major risk factors.
Just under half knew smoking was a risk factor, and less than one quarter named hypertension or high cholesterol as culprits. (Lack of exercise, excess weight, diabetes, excessive drinking and stress are also factors we’re in control of. Age, gender, family history and ethnicity are factors we can’t change.)
The study’s based on the spring 2013 survey responses of 1,654 Canadian women aged 25 and over.
READ MORE: 5 lifestyle changes to improve your heart’s health
What’s troubling to the researchers is that women are often the gatekeepers of health information for the rest of their household.
“As 65 per cent of the women indicated that they had the greatest influence over their family’s health and identified themselves as the ‘heart keepers’ of their families’ heart health, ensuring that they have access to the right resources and appropriate treatment would have a positive impact on all Canadian families,” Lisa McDonnell, lead author and program manager at the Heart Institute said.
READ MORE: Heart attack survivors aren’t making lifestyle changes, report warns
They may be looking after their partners and kids, but the women studied weren’t aware of their risk of getting heart disease. Those who were at the highest risk didn’t realize that they were leading unhealthy lifestyles.
Eighty per cent of the women with little knowledge about heart disease thought that, for the most part, they were well informed.
Thirty-five per cent of women with cardiovascular disease saw their condition as “only an episode” that was treated. They even went back to their pre-diagnosis lifestyle — what the researchers call an “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon.
READ MORE: Do heart attack survivors change their unhealthy ways? Study suggests patients don’t improve lifestyle
“Women are under-studied, under-diagnosed, and under-treated because of a lack of public and professional awareness of women’s coronary risk,” McDonnell said.
“The findings show that we absolutely need to increase awareness and knowledge and to correct misperceptions concerning the incidence, prevalence and significance of cardiovascular disease among women and health care providers,” she said.
Most of the women said they received their health information from their doctors, but only half said these physicians talked about prevention and lifestyle changes during visits.
READ MORE: What you should be eating to lower your blood pressure
The Heart Institute is launching the country’s first Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre in the fall to help with diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care for women with heart disease.
McDonnell’s findings were published Monday in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.
TORONTO – Google will no longer label apps that include in-app purchases as “free” on the Google Play store, in an effort to prevent users from unknowingly racking up costly bills.
The move comes in response to meetings with the European Commission, which raised concerns about how tech companies like Google and Apple handle in-app purchases. The commission was particularly concerned about incidents where children racked up huge bills on their parents’ accounts.
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“This is the very first enforcement action of its kind in which the European Commission and national authorities joined forces,” read a statement from the European Commission. “This is significant for consumers. In particular, children must be better protected when playing online.”
READ MORE: How to turn off ‘in-app purchasing’
Google has also agreed to set guidelines that discourage developers from marketing to kids.
In January, Apple agreed to refund US$32.5 million in in-app purchases to unsuspecting parents whose children racked up hundreds of dollars in charges from playing games.
One parent told the FTC her daughter had spent $2,600 in “Tap Pet Hotel,” in which children can build their own pet lodging. The game is free to download and play, but it takes in-app purchases for bowls of treats and sacks of coins for the game.
Google was also hit with a class-action lawsuit earlier this year from parents of children who made unauthorized purchases in apps.
Google will implement the changes in September.
With a file from The Associated Press
TORONTO – While the Canadian economy may have come out of the global financial crisis relatively well, experts say Canadian families are not faring as well as businesses.
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Canadians with kids ‘just getting by’ financially: poll
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On Monday, a poll released by CIBC showed that fewer Canadians are taking action to pay off their mortgage debt, “the largest debt most Canadians will take on in their lifetime,” said Barry Gollom, CIBC’s vice president of secured lending and product policy.
Last week, a survey of Canadians with kids showed that half feel that they are falling behind on their monthly expenses, or are just getting by without any money left over for savings.
Growing consumer debt, paying for post-secondary education and saving for retirement top the list of financial obligations facing Canadians families.
In some cases, our debt and lack of savings comes down to a lack of financial skills and a lack of clear financial goals, Scott Hannah told Global News.
Hannah is the CEO of the Credit Counselling Society (CCS), a non-profit organization that helps Canadians solve their debt problems and manage their money.
While a lack of financial skills contributes to growing debt loads, so too does embarrassment and fear, Hannah said. “I can’t tell you the percentage of clients that have that look on their faces and feel like they’re the only financial misfit.”
When you walk into a CCS office, one thing you’ll notice is a big container filled with cut-up credit cards. The point of the container? To show that you’re not alone – “there’s been a lot of people here before you,” said Hannah.
The good news – there are things you can do and skills you can learn to help take control of your personal finances.
Make a budgetPay off debt and save while you’re doing itBalance family fun with financial goalsInvolve your kids in the financial conversationGive kids an allowance and let them screw upTeenage kid? Make sure they have a jobTeach kids how to use credit responsiblyRe-think gift giving
The first step to getting your finances on track is to think of your family like a business, said Hannah. The first rule of business? “You can’t spend more than comes into the household,” he said. So you need to have a budget.
“A lot of people think as a budget as a four-letter word. And we do too. It’s called a plan,” he said.
He stresses the importance of adopting a long-term financial strategy (rather than planning from pay cheque to pay cheque) and creating meaningful goals that are really clear.
“When people often talk about their financial goals it’s along the lines of ‘I want to earn more money, own a house and get out of debt.’ “But these aren’t goals, these are hopes,” said Hannah.
If your hope is to get out of debt, your goal could be paying off your credit card debt within the next three months, for example. With that goal in mind you can budget how much money from each pay cheque needs to go toward credit card repayment. “You need to have to something that’s really clear,” said Hannah.
(Download a free budget calculator spreadsheet from the CCS here.)
The CCS recommends Canadians take stock of their financial situation – write down what is owed, who it is owed to, the payments required, outstanding balances and interest rates.
Once you have a picture of your assets and liabilities, make an accurate list of the money coming into your household and where it’s going. Track what you’re spending on annual expenditures: clothing, vacations, property taxes, car repairs and so on.
Once you have your annual expenditures, divide that by 12 to get your monthly expenditures. Weigh that number against your income and debts and see if you’re in a positive or negative financial situation.
If your budget isn’t balanced, you need to make some changes.
Try giving yourself an allowance on discretionary spending. For example, give yourself $25 in cash at the beginning of the week to pay for things like lunches and coffees. If your allowance is gone by Wednesday, then brown-bag it for the rest of the week.
Once your budget is balanced start looking for the best way to pay off your debt, said Hannah.
First step, put your credit cards away and live off a cash diet. If you’re paying off multiple credit cards, Hannah recommends paying off the smallest one first and then celebrate by cutting it up. Then move on to the next.
“It’s really important for people to monitor their success and see they’re making progress,” he said.
You can also look into getting a consolidated loan, which allows you to combine multiple debts and payments into one regular payment.
Hannah isn’t an advocate of lines of credit, because they don’t have an end date. A loan, on the other hand, will allow you to see how much you need to pay each month, and when the debt will be paid off entirely.
Hannah said everyone should work toward having six months of emergency savings on hand.
“You absolutely have to have a component in your budget for emergency savings. In order to get out of debt you need to get into a habit of saving,” he said.
He recommends putting new-found money (such as bonuses and income tax returns) into debt repayment and emergency savings, rather than factoring that money into your budget.
“We’ve become really comfortable with debt,” said Hannah, always wanting the latest and greatest of everything. And if we don’t have the cash to pay for something, a quick swipe of the credit card, and it’s ours.
Complicating the situation for families is that young kids are bombarded with marketing information from a young age, they’re already brand loyal and that puts a lot of pressure on parents’ financial goals.
“You become Mr. and Mrs. No,” said Hannah. Constantly telling the kids, “No we can’t do this.”
Look at the families who have fun together, said Hannah. They don’t have the best car on the block, but they have a car. They don’t go to the most expensive restaurants in town every week, but they’ll go out as a family every once in a while for a fun (cheaper) meal.
“Balance fun and enjoyment with reaching your goals,” said Hannah.
In the family business, you involve your employees. So Hannah said to involve kids in goal-setting. Explain to them (in an age-appropriate way) what your financial goals are, how you’re going to reach them, and why.
“Include the why, so when it comes to making choices you can clearly show how certain things (like family trips) might impact your goals.”
One tip for parents wanting to teach their kids financial skills is to give them an allowance, with some guidelines.
Let them know that if they want to purchase an expensive pair of shoes, for example, they’ll have to stash away a portion of their allowance every week to save up for them.
Hannah said that parents need to let their kids make mistakes with their allowance so they’ll learn about money management. If your kid ignores your advice and blows his entire allowance on a pair of sneakers, don’t give him more money.
“Helicopter parents” – who hover and circle around and around their children, never letting them make a mistake – need to help their kids become financially smart, said Hannah. Otherwise, “they’ll never get there.”
Where a small mistake as a child might not seem like a big deal, the behaviour could develop into a habit and result in a $20,000 mistake when they’re older.
If your kid is approaching 15 or 16, it’s time to talk to them about getting a part-time job.
“Kids who get part-time jobs at an earlier stage tend to be more successful than those who don’t,” said Hannah.
Recent research from the University of British Columbia showed that teenagers who work part time have a “competitive advantage” later in life.
The study said kids who work in their teenage years learn about the working world and how to juggle their priorities. They also, said Hannah, learn about the value of money.
READ MORE: Why ‘McJobs’ are a good idea for your teens during the summer
Hannah suggests that parents phrase conversations around spending money in terms of working hours. For example, if they want to buy a new pair of jeans, explain to them how many hours they will need to work at their job in order to pay for them.
“These sorts of things help kids understand the value of a dollar,” he said.
When it comes to paying for post-secondary education, get kids involved.
Talk to them from a young age about going to school, about the fact that it costs money. Teach them about saving extra money from their part-time jobs for education savings.
“Kids need to have skin in the game when they go to school,” said Hannah. If a teen is using their hard-earned money to pay for tuition and books, they may be more likely to take school seriously and put more effort into it.
Another tip is for parents to, if possible, put money aside in an RESP for their children, but get the kids to save up to pay for the courses themselves. Unused money in the RESP can later be transferred into a high-interest savings account, so when the child graduates they have savings, rather than costly student debt.
(For more practical money tips for post-secondary students, click here.)
All too often people use credit cards for things that they want, not that they need.
But, said Hannah, if you use credit like a car without a drivers’ license, eventually there’s going to be an accident.
Parents need to help their children learn to use credit responsibly. Teach them about the difference between paying off an entire credit card bill versus only paying off the minimum payment. Show them how long it will take to pay off a debt if only the minimum payment is being met.
Also, if your child makes a mistake with their credit card, don’t cover the costs for them. Rather, talk to them about what they should have done, so they don’t make the same mistake down the road.
“It’s an education process,” said Hannah, “and the most effective learning comes in the household.”
Talk to family members (like grandparents who love to spoil the kids around gift-giving occasions) to opt for only small gifts for the kids plus a contribution to the child’s RESP or a bond.
If a child received a $100 bond every birthday rather than a toy or gadget, by the time they reach their college years, they have money at hand that they can cash into an RESP or high-interest savings account.
WATCH: John Baird slammed Russia for its handling of the downed airliner and Putin’s reponse.
LONDON – Likening sanctions against Russia with the West’s past efforts to stamp out apartheid and bring democracy to Myanmar, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced further punishments Monday aimed at ending the crisis in Ukraine.
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Baird expressed confidence at a news conference in London that harsher sanctions against Russia will ultimately work, despite predictions from some experts that such measures will do little to convince the Russians to stop exerting political and military influence on Ukraine.
READ MORE: Rebels agree to allow ‘safe access’ to crash site
“Sanctions didn’t work in the short term in Burma,” Baird said of the country now known as Myanmar. “They didn’t work in the short term in South Africa. But in the end, persistence paid off.”
The downing last week of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet over territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine demands that Canada and the rest of the world “ratchet up” the pressure tactics against Russia, he added.
WATCH: Dutch families angered by situation in Ukraine
Baird announced Canada’s intention to slap sanctions against more people and entities, including government agencies, over Russia’s continuing military actions against Ukraine.
The announcement came amid a worldwide outpouring of anger and grief over the downing of flight MH17. International outrage has been growing over how separatist rebels have been handling the bodies of the 298 passengers and crew of MH17 who died in the crash.
Baird called on the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine to withdraw from the area and allow an international team of forensic experts to investigate the crash of the Malaysian airliner.
READ MORE: More bodies found in east Ukraine amid chaotic recovery
Shortly after Baird spoke, a train carrying most of the bodies recovered from the crash site departed from a nearby station to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. From there the bodies will be flown to Amsterdam.
Dutch forensic investigators and other European monitors arrived in eastern Ukraine on Monday, four days after the plane was shot out of the sky.
Russia has denied any involvement in the downing of MH17. And Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the disaster should not be used to further political goals in eastern Ukraine.
But Baird said no one believes what Russia has to say about the incident, and that Putin bears ultimate responsibility.
WATCH: More bodies found in east Ukraine
“The Kremlin may not have pulled the trigger but it certainly loaded the gun and . . . put it in the murderer’s hand,” said Baird. “Russia is not fooling anyone.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also issued a statement on Monday, saying the crash of MH17 is a direct product of Russia’s aggressive actions.
“The outrageous and criminal act of shooting down a civilian airliner last week is a direct product of Russia’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine, and demonstrates the need for the international community to continue applying pressure on the Putin regime,” Harper’s statement said.
He also repeated a previous warning that Russia’s military action against Ukraine and its illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula constitute a threat to international peace and security.
Canada has so far imposed sanctions against 110 individuals and others considered to be responsible for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
©2014The Canadian Press
Sometimes the last thing you want to do at the end of a long hot summer day is turn on the oven and make a meal. So here’s a delicious solution that requires no more heat than is necessary to grill up some bread.
The grilled bread in question, rubbed with garlic, is the sturdy and satisfying basis for bruschetta, an Italian appetizer that can carry many toppings but most often is graced with nothing more or less complicated than chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper.
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In this case, I’ve topped a large bruschetta with a mound of no-cook tuna salad. In American terms, it’s an open-faced sandwich, and it takes just 30 minutes to prepare. And by the way, if you don’t own a grill, don’t despair: just toast the bread in a toaster.
Canned tuna is everywhere, of course, but I’d advise you to look for the brands that are sustainably caught and lower in mercury. Or use canned salmon instead.
We tend to dress our tuna in mayonnaise, but here we’re rolling in the Mediterranean style, opting instead for extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. The tuna’s partnered with white beans, a great source of protein and fiber that also provides a nice creamy contrast to the tuna’s fishiness. Mashing up some of the beans helps to bind the salad and keep it from falling all over the plate.
I’ve added celery for crunch, but celery-haters will find that chopped fresh fennel is a fine substitute. I’ve also tossed in some red onion, which I love in salads but only after they’ve been tamed. Soaking them in ice water does the trick, significantly reducing the onion’s bite, as well as its staying power on your breath afterward. Remember to put the finely-chopped onion in a strainer before you lower it into the ice water, which saves you from having to fish all the little loose pieces out of the bowl.
The finishing touches? Fresh oregano and some chopped olives mixed with arugula or your favourite dark green lettuce. It’s so simple you may be tempted to whip up this entree sandwich on any evening – no matter the weather – when you only have 30 minutes to put dinner on the table.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Six large 1/2-inch-thick slices rustic whole-grain breadOlive oil cooking spray1/2 garlic clove plus 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilTwo 5-ounce cans light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked3/4 cup finely chopped celery1/2 cup finely chopped red onion, soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, then drained and patted dry3/4 cup pitted and chopped herb-marinated olives3 tablespoons lemon juice1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano2 cups baby arugulaSalt and ground black pepper
Heat the grill to medium.
Lightly mist the bread on both sides with the olive oil cooking spray. Grill the bread on the grill until nicely toasted, about 2 minutes per side. Once the bread is grilled, rub one side of each slice with the cut side of the half clove of garlic. Set aside.
In a large bowl, use a potato masher or fork to mash 1/2 cup of the beans. Add the remaining whole beans, the olive oil, tuna, celery, red onion, olives, lemon juice, oregano, minced garlic and arugula. Mix gently, then season with salt and pepper. Divide the bean mixture between the slices of bread, mounding it on each. Serve with a fork and knife.
Nutrition information per serving: 390 calories; 170 calories from fat (44 per cent of total calories); 19 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 23 g protein; 1,120 mg sodium.
©2014The Associated Press