Heart health of Nova Scotians



Cardiovascular diseases are defined as diseases and injuries of the cardiovascular system: the heart, the blood vessels of the heart, and the system of blood vessels (veins and arteries) throughout the body and within the brain. Stroke is the result of a blood flow problem in the brain. It is considered a form of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a major health issue in Nova Scotia accounting for the death of more Nova Scotians than any other disease.  In 2004, 2,699 Nova Scotians died from heart disease and stroke.[i]



  • In 2006, 21.8% of Nova Scotians smoked; 16.4 % of Nova Scotians aged 45+ smoked.


  • 60.5% of Nova Scotia women and 58.8% of Nova Scotia men aged 18 and over are overweight or obese.[ii]
  • Obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.


  • 49.6% of Nova Scotians (51.5% of Nova Scotia women and 47.6% of Nova Scotia men) aged 12 and over are physically inactive.[iii]
  • Physical inactivity doubles the risk of developing heart disease, doubles the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and increases the risk of hypertension by 30%.[iv]


  • 18.1% of Nova Scotians (19.9% of Nova Scotia women and 16.3% of Nova Scotia men) aged 12 and over have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.[v]
  • A woman with hypertension has a 3.5-times greater risk of developing heart disease than a woman with normal blood pressure.[vi]

[i]      Mortality, Summary List of Causes, 2004. Statistics Canada – Catalogue no. 84F0209

[ii]     M Tjepkema, Measured Obesity. Adult obesity in Canada: Measured height and weight. Nutrition: Findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Issue no. 1. Statistics Canada 82-620-MWE2005001, 2005

[iii]     Statistics Canada, Health Indicators, 2005

[iv]     CDC Collaboration Center on Physical Activity and Health Promotion, 20005

[v]     Statistics Canada, Health Indicators, 2005

[vi]     Corrao JM et al., Coronary heart disease risk factors in women. Cardiology 1990;77:8-12