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Canadian Public Health Association

Milestones: decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke

1942 - Canada's first food guide was introduced, acknowledging wartime food rationing while endeavouring to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to improve the health of Canadians.

1945 - The Honourable Brooke Claxton, Minister of National Health and Welfare, announced a program to make the Canadian people the healthiest in the world. It included increased work in the fields of physical fitness, nutrition, child and maternal hygiene, industrial hygiene and the like.

1961 - The Royal Canadian Air Force developed an 11-minute-a-day exercise program known as 5 Basic Exercises (5BX) to "give the nation twice as much energy"; it became famous worldwide.

1966 - The federal government introduced the Medical Care Act to provide publicly funded medical care insurance plans in provinces on a cost-shared basis. Between 1968 and 1972 the provinces and territories joined the nation's public medical care insurance, or Medicare, program.

1971 - ParticipACTION was launched and for 30 years nudged Canadians of all ages, sizes and shapes to make physical activity a part of everyday life.

1974 - The landmark federal report, New Perspectives on the Health of Canadians (Lalonde Report), showed that healthcare is just one factor in how health is created and set the stage for the modern movement in health promotion.

1977 - Canada's Food Guide got a dramatic new look, with colourful pictures of foods grouped in wheel-like fashion around a sun graphic. This Guide was supported by the premiere edition of Canada's Food Guide Handbook, considered by many to be a nutrition education milestone.

1986 - Health promotion becomes the guiding principle behind the further development of public health in Canada, driven by the federal report, Achieving Health for All: A Framework for Health Promotion. This report placed greater emphasis on the key determinants of health.

1986 - Canada hosted the first International Conference on Health Promotion, at which the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion was presented. This Charter called on national governments to establish health promotion strategies and programs.

1999 - The Canadian Hypertension Education Program was introduced and significantly increased awareness that high blood pressure is a "silent killer" and needs to be regularly checked.

2003 - The Canadian Stroke Strategy is launched as a joint initiative of the Canadian Stroke Network and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The goal of the strategy is to help support an integrated approach to stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in every province and territory by 2010.

2007 - Health Canada announced that it would adopt the Trans Fat Task Force's recommendation on trans fats in Canadian foods, by calling on Canada's food industry to limit the trans fat content of vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines to 2 percent of the total fat content, and to limit the trans fat content for all other foods to 5 percent, including ingredients sold to restaurants.

2007 - Nutrition labelling became mandatory for all prepackaged foods.

2007 - The Minister of Health announces that the Government of Canada will establish an expert Sodium Working Group to explore options for reducing sodium intake and cardiovascular disease among Canadians.