Monday, October 31, 2011

Canada's Sandwich Generation making many sacrifices to support both children and aging parents

Credit Canada and Capital One Canada offer insights about financial literacy in conjunction with 5th annual Credit Education Week

TORONTO, October 31, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians who are part of a growing Sandwich Generation are being required to make more sacrifices in order to financially support both their children and aging parents. A new survey by Credit Canada and Capital One Canada for Credit Education Week found that a surprising 4 in 10 Canadians (39%) in the Sandwich Generation are concerned they might not be able to pay for their children's education because they need to financially support their parents. To deal with these potential monetary shortfalls, 40% of these Canadians expressed concern that they will have to borrow money from family and friends.

For those Canadians already financially supporting their children and parents, 25% believe their children have been negatively impacted because of the additional money and time provided to an aging parent that would otherwise go to their kids.

"What's most concerning is the amount of expenses that this group of Canadians is being forced to take on at a time when they should be saving for retirement," said Laurie Campbell, Executive Director, Credit Canada. "Our latest survey also found that two- thirds of Canadians in the Sandwich Generation have become burdened with additional financial problems as they deal with the reality of these heightened responsibilities. The end result is that more than half of these people (55%) now expect to retire later than expected so they can play financial catch up."

The survey asked Canadians about the types of sacrifices they have been forced to make in order to support both their dependent children and aging parents:

...30% are taking less vacations

...43% are eating out less

...36% have had to dip into their savings

...37% needed to work more hours

...38% have had to cut back on lifestyle costs (entertainment, social activities, etc.)

"It's important for Canadians to have a long-term view of their financial obligations to themselves and their families, so that they can make smart choices about their spending and saving," said Rob Livingston, President, Capital One Canada. "We believe all Canadians should have a thorough understanding of the tools and resources available to them to make these important financial decisions, which is why we support financial education initiatives."

In 2007, Credit Canada and Capital One Canada teamed up to create the first Credit Education Week Canada, with the objective to raise public awareness and educate Canadians about the many issues and challenges they face managing their finances, spending and savings. Now in its fifth year, Credit Education Week will be looking at the Sandwich Generation and the unique financial pressures they face. From November 14-18, over one hundred events and financial literacy workshops at YMCAs and community centres right across the country will occur under the Credit Education Week banner thanks to the support and funding of all sponsors.

Credit Canada and Capital One Canada provide the following tips for the Sandwich Generation

...Talk to someone - visit your local credit counseling agency or a financial advisor to find out your options

...Save for a rainy day - Life takes unexpected twists, so putting aside some emergency savings could keep you out of trouble

...Stay within your budget - Avoid dipping into your savings because you never know when a family member might need a helping hand

...Plan early - Start saving for retirement as soon as you can, and if you have kids, start an RESP for them when they're young

...Teach your kids - Encourage your kids to get part-times jobs to help pay for their education. They'll learn about savings, budgeting and the value of hard work

...Educate yourself - There are government and community programs available to help you and your family with your new financial responsibilities

About the survey

In September 2011, Credit Canada and Capital One Canada commissioned a survey of 830 Canadians in the Sandwich Generation to gain insight into their financial challenges and situations. The survey respondents were equally distributed across the 4 major regions of Canada (West, Ontario, Quebec and East) and the margin of error is +/- 3.4%, 19 times out of 20.

About Credit Canada

Credit Canada is a non-profit charitable service that has assisted thousands of people with credit counseling and debt management programs since 1966. Credit Canada is a member of the Ontario Association of Credit Counseling Services and a Charter Member of Canadian Association of Credit Counseling Services.

About Capital One

With offices in Toronto and Montreal, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, when the company first introduced the Platinum MasterCard in Canada. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tax Rules Prevent Many Canadians from Saving Enough for Retirement: C.D. Howe Institute

TORONTO, October 27, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Federal tax rules are preventing many Canadians - especially in the private sector - from saving enough for retirement, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. Workers relying on RRSPs cannot accumulate even half the retirement wealth of career members of defined-benefit (DB) pension plans, says the report, "Legal for Life: Why Canadians Need a Lifetime Retirement Saving Limit," by James Pierlot with Faisal Siddiqi.

"Solving this 'have' and 'have-not' divide in the pension outlook for Canadians is becoming urgent," says Pierlot.
More than 12 million Canadian workers do not participate in a DB pension plan. Many of these workers need to save for retirement, and must do so in RRSPs and defined-contribution (DC) pension plans. The authors demonstrate that tax rules prevent these workers from saving enough, even as career members of DB plans accumulate retirement savings worth as much as 60% of their total career incomes.

This indicates a serious problem of inequity, the prospect of low living standards for future retirees and an increasing burden on income-support programs funded from general tax revenue, says the report. Those at particular risk of not having enough DC/RRSP contribution room include new Canadians, self-employed workers, and those who have incurred investment losses, experienced periods of unemployment or made RRSP withdrawals before retirement.

The authors find that Canadian workers with career membership in generous DB plans can and do accumulate good pensions with values ranging from $550,000, for a worker with a career-end salary of $50,000, to $2.1 million with a career-end salary of $150,000. With RRSP savings included, their accumulations of retirement wealth are even greater. The study also finds that workers with similar career earnings who save in DC plans and RRSPs are prevented from accumulating even half of these amounts.

Major reform is needed, so that all workers for whom the "tax-assisted" retirement saving system is intended can save enough for their retirements, according to the report. To make this a reality, the authors propose that Canada's annual, income-based tax limits on retirement saving be discarded and replaced with a uniform, inflation-indexed lifetime accumulation limit of $2 million - the value of pensions now accumulated by high-income workers with career membership in generous DB pension plans, especially in the public sector.

For the report go to:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Canada Ready to Accept Pan American Games Flag

Dignitaries Descend on Guadalajara for Handover Ceremony

GUADALAJARA, October 26, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Games Organizing Committee (TO2015), backed by a strong and unified team of representatives from all levels of government, is ready to show the Americas that Canada is preparing an exciting welcome for the largest multi-sport event ever held in the country.

Dignitaries attending the Handover Ceremony include: His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), the Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario's Minister responsible for the Pan/Parapan Am Games, His Worship Mayor Rob Ford and Chief William K. Montour, Elected Chief, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

As the 2011 Pan American Games continue with sport competitions in Guadalajara, TO2015 and its government partners are in Mexico to take part in their official role in the Closing Ceremony in the Omnilife Stadium on October 30.

"The handover component of the Closing Ceremony marks a key milestone on the road to the Toronto 2015 Games," said Ian Troop, TO2015 Chief Executive Officer. "With the unified support of our government partners, accepting the Pan Am flag officially means we're next!"

Along with participation from Mexican and Canadian dignitaries, specific protocol involving the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) flag is strictly followed in the Handover Ceremony.

"Having representatives of all our government partners at the ceremony provides a strong signal to everyone in the Americas that Toronto, our venue municipalities, the Province of Ontario and Canada are all working together to make sure that a warm welcome and top-notch experience awaits all Games participants in 2015," added Troop.

"Ontario is proud to be the next host region of the Pan/Parapan Am Games," said Sousa. "We are well on the way to hosting an event in Ontario that will welcome more than 10,000 athletes and officials, draw more than 250,000 visitors, create 15,000 jobs, trigger infrastructure development and showcase our province on an international stage."

"Toronto is proud to be hosting the Pan/Parapan American Games in 2015," said City of Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford. "The Games will be great for the city. They will generate investment in our sporting infrastructure, create a positive economic impact and showcase Toronto to hundreds of thousands of visitors. I look forward to representing Toronto in Guadalajara and to being part of the official handover celebrations with our other government partners."

"As a proud supporter of the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games, our Government will continue to work with our partners to create a remarkable sport experience for athletes and fans," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "We recognize that hosting these Games in Toronto will create opportunities for economic, cultural and community development. We look forward to working together to proudly welcome the Americas to Toronto in 2015."

Near the midway point of the two-hour Closing Ceremony that will celebrate the excitement and achievements of the Guadalajara 2011 Games, the protocol-driven flag handover segment will take place.

Following the declaration of Toronto as the next Host City of the Games, an eight-minute creative presentation will give the nearly 50,000 spectators in the Stadium, and those watching the broadcast throughout the Americas, a taste of what's to come in Toronto in less than four years.

"Every minute counts as we showcase the creative blend of culture and athletics that makes Toronto a unique region of the world," said Troop. "With a French-Canadian flair, a tribute to our Aboriginal history and a celebration of Latin American and Caribbean music, the invitation is clear: Toronto is the place to be in 2015."

The Closing Ceremony for the Pan Am Games will air Sunday, October 30 beginning at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time) on

About the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

The Pan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The Games comprise all Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports. The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will draw 10,000 athletes and officials and feature 48 sports in 17 municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10-26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14.

For more information about the Games, please visit

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quality of life for women an issue

Canadian researchers find that in some matters of the heart, women do not fare as well as men

VANCOUVER, October 25, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A Heart and Stroke Foundation study has found that women under age 55 fare worse than their male counterparts following a heart attack - and their health status declines more than that of their male counterparts after one month.

The AMI55 study found that women between the ages of 20 and 55 had significantly worse physical limitations, more recurrences of chest pain, and worse quality of life than men one month after a heart attack - and, compared to their baseline scores, declined in the areas of physical limitations and recurrences of chest pain. Among men, only physical limitations worsened from baseline to one month.

"While the high prevalence of traditional cardiac risk factors like diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure contribute, they do not fully explain the poorer outcome in women," says Dr. Karin Humphries, Heart and Stroke Foundation Professor in Women's Cardiovascular Health at UBC. "This is why our study focuses on exploring non-traditional risk factors such as depression, anxiety, and social support."

Dr. Humphries attributes the slower recovery of women in part to prevalent social and cultural standards that typically place women in this age group in the role of primary caregiver.

"These women are likely not getting the support they need to recover from a heart attack," she says. "Women are less likely to attend cardiac rehabilitation than their male counterparts even when they are referred. We need to help women overcome their barriers to this essential part of their recovery."

Explanations for the difference in outcomes, she says, may be that women are presenting to hospital later, are less likely to believe they're having a heart attack, are more likely to put off seeking treatment and often ignore or under-report their symptoms. Additionally, they are less aggressively investigated for heart disease.

She adds that outcomes in younger women could likely be improved by increased awareness of risk factors and of heart attack symptoms.

The study looked at 286 patients 55 years of age or younger, including 75 females, from five B.C. hospitals. Researchers collected baseline data when patients arrived following a heart attack, and followed up on demographic, clinical, and psychosocial characteristics at one, six, and 12 months.

In B.C. alone, more than 1,000 adults under age 55 are admitted to hospital each year following a heart attack. Of these, 25 per cent are women.

"Our findings show that there is still a lot of room for improvement," says co-researcher Mona Izadnegahdar, a PhD candidate in epidemiology at the UBC School of Population and Public Health. "We can improve these odds by increasing awareness of warning signs and symptoms of heart attack, recognizing and managing cardiac risk factors, as well as knowing about and accessing cardiac resources such as rehabilitation programs."

The researchers also found in the same group of patients that, while chest pain was the most common heart attack symptom in both men and women, the women suffered a higher severity of chest pain. They also had a wider range of other pain symptoms than men, including neck and throat pain, and left arm and shoulder pain.

"This research is consistent with other studies suggesting that women suffer worse quality of life with a diagnosis of heart disease," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson. "Heart disease is a leading cause of death of women in Canada. Being aware of the warning signs and acting on them quickly can save lives and improve health outcomes."
She says that women and their family members should talk to their doctors, be aware of any symptoms, and understand that heart attacks can happen to them too.

Dr. Abramson encourages women to find out how they can protect their heart health through the Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign (, which educates women about identifying their risks and warning signs of heart disease and stroke, and shows them how to make lifestyle changes and take action to reduce their risk by as much as 80 per cent.

The warning signs of a heart attack - for women and men - are:

...Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)

...Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)

...Shortness of breath




If you are experiencing any of these signs, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

The study was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Simple lifestyle changes can add a decade or more healthy years to the average lifespan of Canadians, says international expert

Sharpened focus on prevention strategies would save billions of dollars in health costs

VANCOUVER, October 21, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Health prevention strategies to help Canadians achieve their optimal health potential could add a decade or more of healthy years to the average lifespan and save the economy billions of dollars as a result of reduced cardiovascular disease, says noted cardiologist Dr. Clyde Yancy.

Dr. Yancy, who will deliver the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Lecture at the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver this Sunday, will tell delegates that people who follow seven simple steps to a healthy life can expect to live an additional 40 to 50 years after the age of 50.

"Achieving these seven simple lifestyle factors gives people a 90 per cent chance of living to the age of 90 or 100, free of not only heart disease and stroke but from a number of other chronic illnesses including cancer," says Dr. Yancy, a professor of medicine and chief of cardiology at the Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also the past-president of the American Heart Association.

"By following these steps, we can compress life-threatening disease into the final stages of life and maintain quality of life for the longest possible time." He predicts that, if we act now, we can reverse the tide by 2020.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every year in Canada about 250,000 potential years of life are lost due to heart disease and stroke, which are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada.

Canadians can achieve optimal health, says Dr. Yancy, by following these steps:

1. GET ACTIVE: Inactivity can shave almost four years off a person's expected lifespan. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease or stroke.

2. KNOW AND CONTROL CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: Almost 40 per cent of Canadian adults have high blood cholesterol, which can lead to the build up of fatty deposits in your arteries - increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.

3. FOLLOW A HEALTHY DIET: Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health - yet about half of Canadians don't meet the healthy eating recommendations.

4. KNOW AND CONTROL BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure - often called a 'silent killer' because it has no warning signs or symptoms - affects one in five Canadians. By knowing and controlling your blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent and the risk of heart attack by up to 25 per cent.

5. ACHIEVE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: Almost 60 per cent of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese - major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Being obese can reduce your life span by almost four years.

6. MANAGE DIABETES: By 2016 an estimated 2.4 million Canadians will live with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), coronary artery disease, and stroke, particularly if your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.

7. BE TOBACCO FREE: More than 37,000 Canadians die prematurely each year due to tobacco use, and thousands of non-smokers die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke. As soon as you become smoke-free, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to decrease. After 15 years, your risk will be nearly that of a non-smoker.

A call for focused prevention strategies

While this goal of optimal health has been achieved by fewer than 10 per cent of the population, "it demonstrates the striking potential that prevention has if it is broadly embraced," says Dr. Yancy. "We know how to prevent heart disease and stroke - we now need to build the tools to empower our citizens to manage their risk and prevent heart disease."

Dr. Yancy calls on governments to invest in steady and focused prevention strategies. He says that necessary initiatives include a change in current sodium policies, continued progress in tobacco control initiatives, increased green space, and health education.

"Healthy living is key to preventing heart disease and stroke," says Bobbe Wood, president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "The Foundation is committed to raising awareness about heart health and to promoting public policies that facilitate healthy lifestyles and communities."

She says that the Foundation will continue to build on partnerships and policies that have led to a significant reduction of trans fats in the Canadian food supply; stronger tobacco control initiatives; healthy community design; and a continued reduction in the amount of salt in our food products, which has been achieved in part through Health Check™, the Foundation's flagship food information program.

Dr. Yancy adds that improved access to health care that focuses on prevention and control of important risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes is also key.

Raising the alarm over looming costs of treating heart disease

Dr. Yancy will also raise the alarm over the looming cost of treating heart disease now and in the future.

With predictions that the direct medical cost of treating heart disease in the U.S. alone could climb to $818 billion in 2030, he says there is a health and economic imperative for governments and societies around the world to embrace prevention strategies.

Heart disease and stroke cost the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages and decreased productivity.

"The opportunity for prevention is not an unrealistic expectation," says Dr. Yancy. "Over the past 40 years the rates of heart disease and stroke have steadily declined."
The rate has declined in Canada by 70 per cent since the mid-1950s. In the last decade alone, the rate has declined by 25 per cent.

Unfortunately, says Dr. Yancy, these benefits may be short-lived if the burden of risk, specifically obesity and diabetes, continues to grow, especially in children. "We need to act now."

Canadians can take a personalized My Heart&Stroke Risk Assessment™ to find out how their age, family history, and medical conditions affect their heart health at

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Lecturer Dr. Clyde Yancy will deliver the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Lecture at the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC) in Vancouver this Sunday.

Co-hosted by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, CCC is Canada's largest scientific conference, attracting close to 4,000 heart-health professionals from across the country.

Attendees representing 20 different organizations, including surgeons, pediatric specialists, cardiologists, nurses, rehab professionals, and others learn about the latest science and cutting-edge research, and take it back to their patients. The Congress runs until October 26.

Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Foundation or CCS policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Study Finds Link Between Colon Cancer, Bacteria

The Poopy Lab does have a distinctive smell, but you get used to it, say these U of G researchers - photo credit: the Portico

GUELPH, Ontario October 20, 2011 - University of Guelph - News Release

A research team including University of Guelph scientists has found for the first time that a specific gut microbe is connected to colorectal cancer.

The finding may help researchers design a simpler screening tool for diagnosing tumours and, ultimately, find a more effective way to prevent one of the most deadly kinds of cancer, said U of G Prof. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Two research teams published papers online this week in Genome Research that identify a link between Fusobacterium nucleatum and colon cancer. This particular microbe is found more often in colon cancer tissue than in normal tissue, said Allen-Vercoe.

She co-authored one of those papers along with PhD student Jaclyn Strauss and researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and the B.C. Cancer Agency. The team was led by B.C. scientist Robert Holt.

“I think this is really exciting,” said Allen-Vercoe. “If we can show that Fusobacterium is involved directly or indirectly, I think there’s a lot of potential to develop interventions such as a vaccine to reduce colonization by this bacterium.”

She cautioned that any vaccine or other treatment may be years or decades away. Scientists still don’t know whether the microbe actually causes the disease or is only associated with it.

But they hope doctors might be able to use the microbe to screen for colon cancer, perhaps by testing blood or stool samples instead of subjecting many people to complicated and invasive colonoscopies.

In 2011, an estimated 22,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 8,900 will die of it, according to Canadian Cancer Society statistics. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined.

F. nucleatum is a known pathogen, but it is rare and had not been associated earlier with cancer, said Holt.

In her Guelph microbiology lab, Allen-Vercoe cultured a strain of the bacterium from colon tumour biopsy samples. Her collaborators subsequently determined the strain’s genetic sequence.

Earlier, her U of G team found evidence that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have more F. nucleatum – and more virulent strains -- in their gut than people without the ailment.

Allen-Vercoe is one of only a few Canadian researchers on an international project cataloguing the genomes of all microbes found on or in the human body.

Monday, October 17, 2011

10 Myths and Facts About Water...We all need water to live, but how much do we really know about it?

From the truth about drinking eight glasses of water per day to refilling plastic bottles, here's what you should know about water benefits.

from Everyday
By Wyatt Myers
Medically reviewed by Niya Jones MD, MPH

For something so seemingly simple and essential as drinking water, plenty of myths and misconceptions exist about possible water benefits and harms.

Learn how to separate the myths from the facts about drinking water.

1. Everyone needs to drink eight glasses of water a day.

Myth. Though water is the easiest and most economical fluid to keep you hydrated, the latest Institute of Medicine recommendation is that women should strive for about two liters or eight glasses a day and men should aim for three liters or 12 glasses a day of any fluid, not just water. “No one can figure out where this ‘eight glasses of water’ came from, but I believe it came from the old RDA [recommended daily allowance] for water that matched water requirements to calorie requirements,” notes Georgia Chavent, MS, RD, director of the Nutrition and Dietetics Program at the University of New Haven in West Haven, Conn. “The new requirement from the Institute of Medicine is much more generous and includes recommendations for total beverage consumption, not just water.”

2. Drinking water flushes toxins from your body.

Fact. Though water doesn’t necessarily neutralize toxins, the kidneys do use water to get rid of certain waste products. If you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys don’t have the amount of fluid they need to do their job properly. “If the body does not have sufficient water, then metabolic wastes will not be removed as efficiently as they should,” explains Amy Hess-Fischl, RD, CDE, of the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center. “In essence, the body would be holding in toxins instead of expelling them, as is required for proper health.”

3. Bottled water can cause tooth decay.

Myth. Bottled water in and of itself doesn’t cause the teeth to decay, but it usually doesn’t contain any fluoride, which is added to tap water to help prevent tooth decay. “Fluoride is an important element in the mineralization of bone and teeth,” says Constance Brown-Riggs, RD, CDE, author of The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes and a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator in New York City. “With the increased consumption of bottled water, which is not fluoridated, there has been an increase in dental cavities.”

4. Drinking water can help keep your skin moist.

Myth. While it used to be believed that staying properly hydrated led to youthful, vibrant skin, the reality is that the amount of water you drink probably has very little to do with what your skin looks like. “Unless the individual is severely dehydrated, drinking large quantities of water will not prevent dry skin,” Hess-Fischl says. “Basically, the moisture level of skin is not determined by internal factors. Instead, external factors such as skin cleansing, the environment, the number of oil glands, and the functioning of these oil-producing glands determine how dry the skin is or will become. The water that is consumed internally will not reach the epidermis [the top layer of the skin].”

5. Drinking water helps you lose weight.

Fact. Drinking water won’t specifically trigger weight loss, but it can aid in the process. Water replaces other calorie-laden beverages in the diet, causing you to reduce your overall number of calories. Plus, it can make you feel fuller, so you may eat less at each meal. Water, particularly cold water, may even play a role in increasing your metabolism. “A new study seems to indicate that drinking water actually speeds up weight loss,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, owner of Tanya Zuckerbrot Nutrition, LLC, in New York City. “Researchers in Germany found that subjects of the study increased their metabolic rates [or the rate at which calories are burned] by 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water.”

Continue reading page 2 of this article.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Diet and Nutrition Center.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New survey reveals inflammatory arthritis affects quality of life

Half of respondents say they are unable to work full-time and nearly 75% say inflammatory arthritis affects daily activities

MONTREAL, October 12, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new survey of 3,000 Canadians living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) reveals that Canadians feel that their inflammatory arthritis interferes with their overall happiness, and prevents them from enjoying many of their favourite activities.

The survey was conducted by Abbott to reveal the extent to which inflammatory arthritis affects the daily lives of people who live with these diseases. Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions currently affect nearly 4.5 million Canadians, with arthritis being among the top three most common chronic diseases in Canada.*

The economic burden of arthritis in Canada is estimated at $4.4 billion annually**. Among the survey respondents, 34% said that they have been living with their chronic illness for 20 or more years. Respondents indicated that their illness has affected their productivity level at work and home, with 48% stating that it prevents them from working full-time hours.

Donald Karp, who was diagnosed in his twenties with AS, understands what it means to lose the ability to live a normal life:

"You never know when your mobility will be affected. At 23 years old I was diagnosed and eventually had to quit my job at an oil and gas company due to the pain. I thought that my life was changed forever. But since I started treatment a few years ago, I feel that I have been given my life back - I am living pain free and I'm working full-time again. But even more amazingly, I've been able to get back into snowboarding, which I love, and I'm even able to compete nationally. That's a huge change from not being able to stand up if I sneezed, because of the pain in my back.

"I would encourage anyone living with inflammatory arthritis to not just accept living with pain but to work with their doctor to get a proper diagnosis and to find a treatment that works for them. In my case, diagnosis took a few years and then a few years more to find the treatment that worked for me. So don't give up," adds Karp.

The study revealed some interesting facts about living with inflammatory arthritis:

...73% said their chronic illness affected their day to day activities at home or at work

...42% of participants thought their chronic illness interfered with their hobbies or recreational activities

...67% of participants said they haven't been able to enjoy all the activities they used to do prior to the occurrence of their symptoms

...Women had a more negative outlook on their overall health than men with 42% of women stating they thought they were in good health compared to 44% of men

...48% said their chronic illness prevents them from working full-time hours

"When most people think of arthritis, it is osteoarthritis that comes to mind. It is critically important to shed light on inflammatory arthritis and the dramatic effect it has on people's lives," says Dr. Carter Thorne, rheumatologist in Newmarket. "Inflammatory arthritis can strike at any age - most people don't realize that even children as young as 18 months can be hit with arthritis. People with these conditions often wait a significant period of time before they are diagnosed, and many come to just accept that pain and restricted activity are a part of their lives. But with the advances we have made in treatment in the past decade, that doesn't need to be the case. We now have the ability to help people with inflammatory arthritis get back to living life and being productive."

"Patients often don't know where to turn for information about living with inflammatory arthritis," says Kathy Drouin, a registered nurse at the Ottawa Hospital Arthritis Centre. "These are illnesses that don't just affect your joints; they affect your whole life. This disease affects your happiness and your relationships with friends and family. To cope with such an illness, I recommend that patients talk with their healthcare providers and visit support websites such as, which was designed specifically for people living with inflammatory disease. It provides unbiased information, resources and support for patients as well as for their family and friends. Many people are afraid of what their life is going to be like now that they have been diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. Hearing from someone like Donald who has been through a similar journey and is so optimistic can really help."

About the survey

From May 27 to June 30, 2011, an online survey was conducted among Canadian adults living with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis who are Angus Reid Forum panel members and ICOM. The margin of error on the full base — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 2.62%. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott has been operating in Canada since 1931 and its Canadian operations are headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. Abbott Canada employs more than 2,000 people. Visit, for more information.

*Life with Arthritis in Canada - A personal and public health challenge by Public Health Agency of Canada release in 2010.

**The Burden of Arthritis in Canada

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Inspirational Lifelong Learning Quotes

Join the Impowerage Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the latest articles, contests and discussions. For every new fan we'll donate $1 to the CNIB to fund the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease affecting older adults up to $5000.

Impowerage Magazine - 50+ Fitness, Retirement and Lifestyle Online Magazine for baby-boomers, active older adults and seniors

Friday, October 14, 2011

University of Guelph Launches BetterPlanet Project Speaker Series

GUELPH, Ontario, October 12, 2011 - University of Guelph Campus Bulletin

A new speaker series at the University of Guelph will highlight the many ways that faculty, staff and students make a difference here and around the world.

The series, which begins Oct. 19, complements the University’s BetterPlanet Project, a capital campaign to help improve the quality of food, environment, health and communities locally and globally.

The U of G community inspired the campaign, said Chuck Cunningham, assistant vice-president (communications and public affairs).

“Our faculty, staff, students and alumni are making it a better planet every day through teaching, research, and community outreach and engagement,” he said.

“For decades, they’ve crossed borders as researchers, teachers and volunteers, worked locally and nationally to make a difference, and sought to change science and society with their ideas. The BetterPlanet Project is our way of showing that to the world.”

The series gives U of G community members a new way to share their efforts, knowledge and experience, Cunningham said.

Lectures will be free and open to the U of G community and general public. Talks will be recorded for podcast. All talks will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the University Centre, Room 103. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The first speaker will be U of G English professor Dionne Brand, a renowned poet and author. On Oct. 19, she will discuss how poems and novels promise a better world. Brand is Toronto’s poet laureate. She has won the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, the Trillium Prize for Literature, the Pat Lowther Award for Poetry, the Harbourfront Festival Prize and the Toronto Book Award. Her writing has been translated into Italian and French, and is published in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.

On Nov. 22, faculty and staff will discuss their experiences with Leave for Change.

President Alastair Summerlee will speak Jan. 19, 2012, on his work with African relief projects.

Introduction to the BetterPlanet Project by Alastair Summerlee, President of the University of Guelph

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sandwich Generation healthier, wealthier but worried

Relying heavily on public care for parents and concerned about impact on their own lives

TORONTO, October 5, 2011 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Canadian parents who also provide support to their own parents are in better physical, psychological and financial health than the average Canadian. But these members of the "Sandwich Generation" are also concerned about the impact that the eldercare is having on many aspects of their lives, according to the most recent health survey conducted by Desjardins Financial Security (DFS).

The majority of the survey respondents feel their physical, mental and financial health is excellent, very good or good. Within this same group, the demographic who live with children and provide daily assistance to their parents rated themselves even higher:

...92 percent said their physical health was excellent, very good or good compared to 83.8 percent in Canada;

...94.2 percent said their psychological health was excellent, very good or good compared to 88.7 percent;

...70.2 percent said their personal financial security was excellent, very good or good compared to 57.2 percent overall.

"The Sandwich Generation seems ready to deal with the challenges of supporting both parents and children simultaneously," says Nathalie Tremblay, health products manager at Desjardins Financial Security. "But they know that this is going to affect their lives in many different ways."

The survey results indicate that people who provide daily support to their parents totally or somewhat agree that this assistance impacts:

...Their mental health (67.3 percent)

...The well-being of their family (62.4 percent)

...Their physical health (60.1 percent)

...Their professional life (58.2 percent)

Sandwich Generation plan to rely heavily on health care system

Another survey conducted by DFS this spring indicated that 58.4 percent of Canadians identified government-funded home care as one of the three most important resources to help them assist their parents in their daily activities.

"This is an alarming statistic," says Bart Mindszenthy, co-author of the best seller Parenting Your Parents and expert in elderly family caregiving. "It's my feeling that the health care system simply can't effectively cope with the number of people requiring care as our population ages."

This reliance on the health care system is even more pronounced among Canadians already trying to balance the needs of children and elderly parents in the more recent health survey. While 59.1 percent of Canadians were confident that their parents would have easy access to publicly-funded home care in the case of a critical illness, that figure rose to 68.2 for those living with children and also providing daily support to their parents.

Creating a plan

The survey also found that only 18.9 percent of respondents have worked with their parents to develop a plan for ongoing care. Although many of the Sandwich Generation clearly understand the need for a plan, 52.6 percent of people who live with children and provide daily assistance to parents don't have one in place.
"This result is not surprising—it's a difficult conversation to have," says Tremblay. "Nonetheless, it's a reality that we do need to face, however difficult. A little planning can dramatically change the conditions in which our parents live."

Mindszenthy agrees.
"We can't assume that publicly-funded health care will have the resources needed to keep aging loved ones safe and comfortable. In fact, we must plan for how we're going to actively support the needs of our parents as they age."

About the Survey

SOM Surveys, Opinion Polls and Marketing conducted this Web survey on behalf of Desjardins Financial Security from August 10 to 23, 2011. In total, 3,120 questionnaires were completed with a sample of Canadian Web panellists aged 18 to 64 years old. The data was weighted to reflect the distribution of the Canadian population aged 18 to 64 years old in terms of gender and mother tongue distributions in 14 regions (Atlantic Provinces, Montreal CMA and elsewhere in Quebec, Toronto CMA and elsewhere in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Calgary CMA and elsewhere in Alberta, Vancouver CMA and elsewhere in British Columbia). The data was also weighted to reflect the population distributions in terms of the joint age-gender distribution and the proportion of adults who live alone in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.

About Desjardins Financial Security

Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in providing life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products to individuals and groups. Every day over five million Canadians rely on DFS to ensure their financial security. DFS employs over 4,000 people and administers 27.4 billion in assets from offices in several cities across the country including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Lévis, Halifax and St. John's. For more information, visit the website at

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CIBC Poll: Ontarians dream of retiring debt free at age 63

Ontario residents envision saving enough money to choose their retirement date, however national results indicate that optimism fades as retirement approaches

TORONTO, October 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontarians anticipate saving enough to retire at age 63, and most see themselves entering retirement without debt according to a new CIBC (TSX: CM ) (NYSE: CM) poll conducted by Harris/Decima. However, national results show that as Canadians draw closer to retirement they become less optimistic about reaching their savings goals and see it as more likely they'll carry at least some debt into retirement.

Findings of the poll include:

...On average, Ontario respondents believe they will retire at age 63.

...When asked why they would ultimately retire, the most popular answer among Ontario residents was that they will have saved enough money to choose to retire (35 per cent)

...Only 21 per cent of Ontarians believe they will carry some debt into retirement. Nationally, 22 per cent of Canadians believe they will carry debt into retirement. However past CIBC research shows that among retired Canadians, 54 per cent hold some form of debt

"Our CIBC Poll shows that Ontarians set out with a vision of building up their savings and eliminating debt to retire at a time of their choosing, but with each passing year we see that Canadians feel less optimistic about their plans," said Christina Kramer, Executive Vice-President, Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy, CIBC. "These findings demonstrate the importance of having a plan in place and making progress towards your goals every year, to give you the flexibility to make choices about when and how you retire."

Nationally, a key finding of the poll is that as Canadians near retirement, their optimism in reaching their savings goals for retirement drops:

For example, 43 per cent of Canadians aged 25-34 feel they will be able to choose to retire based on the savings they will accumulate over their working life

However, for those at the leading edge of the baby boom (aged 55-64) that number drops to just 21 per cent

"As Canadians get closer to retirement, many are finding they have not achieved the retirement savings goals they set for themselves, which could lead to Canadians either working longer than they anticipated, or making adjustments to their retirement such as reducing expenses to stretch their income further," added Ms. Kramer.

Canadians also see their debt being repaid by the time they retire, but as retirement draws closer this also is viewed as less likely:

For example, only 15 per cent of those in the 25-34 age group believe they'll carry any debt into retirement

That number doubles to 31 per cent for those 55-64 years of age.

Past CIBC polls show that Ontarians believe they will be debt free by age 54, but many don't reach this target. As debt is carried closer to Ontarians' target retirement age of 63 outlined in this poll, it can restrict the cash flow available for savings and may lead to Ontario residents missing the savings goals they have set for themselves.

"Your finances are all connected, meaning the more effective you are at debt management, the more funds you have available to accelerate savings for retirement," commented Ms. Kramer. "Sitting down with an advisor to map out a strategy that addresses both your savings and debt management plans is an integral step to achieving your long term savings goals and enjoying the retirement you want."

Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey. These data were gathered in a sample of 1,116 employed Canadians and 683 retired Canadians between September 8th and 19th, 2011, among which a total of 341 employed Ontarians were surveyed. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-2.9%, 3.7%, and 5.3% respectively, 19 times out of 20.

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and around the world. For information about CIBC visit their corporate website at

Monday, October 3, 2011

Three years later, majority of Canadians still unclear about TFSAs

photo credit: brian.chvia Flickr

Almost one in five Canadians say they don't understand the benefits of the TFSA
Canadians 55+ are the biggest users and contributors to the category

TORONTO, October 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - It's been almost three years since the Federal Government introduced Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), but a new survey from ING DIRECT reveals the majority of Canadians are still unclear about them. Those surveyed indicated they have a vague idea (37%) or don't understand how the TFSA works (14%), while 13% of Canadians said they don't know what a TFSA is.

A similar survey conducted in 2008 found 39% of Canadians had a vague idea about the TFSA, suggesting awareness hasn't increased that much in the last three years.

"The Tax-Free Savings Account is the most important savings vehicle we've been given since the RRSP was introduced in the 1950s, so it's discouraging that Canadians still aren't fully aware of it," said Peter Aceto, President and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada. "Also, less than half of Canadians say they have a TFSA, meaning the majority of us still aren't taking advantage of saving tax-free."

Who's using the TFSA?

...Of the 41% of Canadians who have a TFSA, 46% earn $100K+ per year, versus 34% who earn less than $50K.

...Of the Canadians who have a TFSA, those aged 35-54 are least represented at 36% versus older (48%) and younger (40%) age brackets.

...Older Canadians (55+) indicated they fully understand what a TFSA is, versus 28% of those 18-34 years and 31% of those 35-54 years.

...56% of those aged 35-55+ indicated they use their TFSA for retirement savings versus 11% of those aged 18-34.

...Those aged 55+ have used more than half the contribution room available ($8,395) whereas those aged 18-34 have used less than a third of the contribution available ($4,538).

Canadians see the TFSA as long-term investment, but treat it as a regular savings account

Seventy per cent of Canadians said they felt the TFSA was a long-term savings vehicle, however only 24% of respondents indicated they use the TFSA primarily for retirement savings. Almost half of Canadians (48%) say their TFSA is just another way of saving money, while 10% use their TFSAs as an emergency fund.

The survey also revealed that more Canadians are dipping into their TFSAs, with 31% of respondents admitting they've made a withdrawal from their account since they started saving, up from 20% last year. Those who withdrew funds said they needed the money for an emergency (54%), they used their TFSA to save for a goal and achieved it (17%) or they use their TFSA as a regular savings account (17%).

When asked what they would like the annual maximum TFSA contribution amount to be if they could choose to change it, a surprising number of Canadians (51%) indicated they would opt to increase the limit, with the largest percentage of respondents (19%) preferring to have $7,501 - $10,000 in annual contribution room. Despite wanting the option to increase their annual limits, only one in 10 Canadians has contributed close to the maximum contribution limit ($14,001 - $15,000). A quarter of Canadians have contributed less than half of their available TFSA contribution room.

"Canadians should really think of the TFSA as another vehicle through which they can build their investment portfolio," said Aceto. "As the contribution room grows each year, so do the benefits. Contributing early means you're taking advantage of both compound and tax-free interest."

ING DIRECT is Canada's leading direct bank with over 1.7 million Clients and more than $37.6 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT gives the power of saving to all Canadians by offering high-value, simple products such as high interest savings accounts with no fees or service charges, low rates on mortgages and a no-fee daily chequing account that actually pays interest. Low cost, index based mutual funds are sold through ING DIRECT Funds Limited. ING DIRECT has been operating in Canada since 1997 and paid more than $5 billion in interest to Clients. ING DIRECT is open for banking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at, on mobile devices at or by calling 1-800 ING DIRECT (1-800-464-3743).

About the Survey

From September 20 - September 21, an online survey was conducted among 1668 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.