What do you need to prevent chronic disease in a large group of people such as the population of Alberta? Change in environment or policy? Focus on factors that determine health? Partnership with the government? Help people to take action? Help communities discover the things that prevent them from making healthy choices?


Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. In Canada, about two thirds of total deaths are due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease and diabetes. Many of these diseases could be prevented by increasing physical activity, changing diets and avoiding tobacco use and alcohol misuse.

In Canada, we have made significant progress in tobacco reduction over the past 30 years. However, addressing diet and physical inactivity as other significant behavioural determinants of chronic diseases remains a major challenge. The obesity epidemic in Canada is perhaps the most visible indicator for the need to address diet and physical inactivity and the socio-environmental determinants of those behaviours.

Social and physical environments (schools, workplaces and communities) have tremendous impact in supporting or discouraging health-related behaviours. Developing and implementing policies which create environments that support healthy choices will create opportunities for all Albertans to improve their health and reduce their risk of cancer and chronic disease.