New Survey Finds Canadian Moms Neglect Themselves to Prioritize Family Needs

Jan 23, 2013, 08:30 ET from Unilever Canada Inc.

Canadian comedienne and mom Jessica Holmes helps Becel®, founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ Campaign, encourage moms to take care of themselves too

TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - Family chauffeur, meal-planner extraordinaire, homework helper and shoulder to lean on - when it comes to supporting their loved ones, moms will take on any role to ensure their families are happy and healthy.

Yet a recent survey conducted by Leger Marketing for Becel®, the founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ Campaign, reveals that the majority of Canadian moms (60 per cent) feel they simply don't have enough time to take care of themselves - and 70 per cent don't even rank themselves among their top three priorities in life.

Putting others needs ahead of their own can come at a cost, as too many kids lose their mothers to heart disease and stroke, a leading cause of death for women in Canada1.

Jessica Holmes, Canadian comedienne and mom of two, knows all too well how the demands of motherhood can overshadow personal needs. "It took me a few years to figure out the balance after having kids," says Jessica Holmes. "I would spend every waking moment worrying about my kids, putting my well-being completely aside, because I thought that's what moms are supposed to do. One day I just woke up. I looked at my slumped over posture, my pile of drive thru wrappers, my gym bag/cobweb holder, and the tired bags under my eyes and realized 'wow' if I don't start looking after myself, I may not be around for my family. It was a pretty poignant moment.  It helped me find the balance and start taking better care of myself too."

When asked what lengths they have gone to in order to make their kids happy, over one quarter of Canadian moms have spent hours making a hand-made Halloween costume (29 per cent), stayed up all night baking goods for a school bake sale (28 per cent), or have done whatever it takes to get their hands on the hottest toy (27 per cent).  And while they invest time going above and beyond for their children, at least half of moms, whether they work outside the home or not, still say they don't have time to take care of themselves (64 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively).

Becel Launches Campaign to Encouraging Moms to Take Care of Themselves Too

In its role as founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, Becel® wants to empower moms and encourage them to prioritize their own health and well-being as much as they do others.'  To help spread this important message, Becel released today on its website (, a video that can be easily personalized and sent to encourage a mom to take care of herself too.

Words of encouragement can make a difference.  In fact, more than half (56 per cent) of Canadian moms would be more likely to spend more time to take care of themselves if another mother encouraged them to do so. What many don't know is that the risk for heart disease and stroke can be reduced in women by as much as 80 per cent1 by making healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising, eating right, staying smoke-free, reducing stress and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

More from the Survey

  • Moms put off doctor visits, physical activity and eating healthier in order to prioritize the needs of their children and families
    • One quarter (27 per cent) put off visiting a healthcare professional, over half (57 per cent) put off physical activity, and close to one-third (30 per cent) put off eating healthier
  • Moms spend more time transporting their kids around than participating in their own hobbies
    • 50 per cent spend the majority of their time outside working hours taking their kids to school, activities and play dates, compared with only 17 per cent who say they participate in their own interests.
  • Moms reserve healthy meal planning more for their families than themselves
    • Only 1 in 10 (9.8 per cent) Canadian moms surveyed spend the majority of their time outside working hours preparing healthy lunches for themselves, while almost half (48 per cent) plan healthy meals for their family.

"I've found that little changes add up and make a lasting difference to your health, whether it's eating a little better, walking instead of taking the car, or finally booking that annual physical you've missed for the last three years," says Holmes.  "I make it a priority to take care of myself so that I can be there with open arms for everyone else.  Like the flight attendants say, 'put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.' "

About The Heart Truth™ campaign
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign calls on women to put their own health first by assessing their risk for heart disease and stroke, talking to their doctor, and making heart healthy lifestyle choices in order to enjoy a long and healthy life with their loved ones. Heart disease and stroke is a leading cause of death for women in Canada, but most don't know it.   Heart disease is not a "man's disease":  women are more likely than men to die of a heart attack or stroke. But by taking care of themselves and making incremental heart healthy lifestyle changes, women can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80 per cent. Assess your risk for heart disease and stroke, and find questions to ask your doctor at  Find community support at, heart health tips at and healthy lifestyle inspiration at

About Becel®          
Becel® has always believed in the importance of caring for your heart. It's why Becel® margarine was created, and why the brand remains dedicated to educating Canadians about the importance of heart healthy living. Through its development of educational resources to help Canadians manage their heart health, its founding sponsorship of The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, and in the development of products such as Becel® pro.activ® calorie-reduced margarine with plant sterols, the first food with plant sterols in Canada, Becel® maintains its commitment to heart health innovation and education. For more information, visit

About Unilever
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries and sales in 180. With products that are used over two billion times a day around the world, Unilever works to create a better future every day and help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.  In Canada the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe®, Becel®, Ben & Jerry's®, Bertolli®, Breyers®, Clear ®Degree®, Dove® personal care products, Good Humor®, Hellmann's®, Klondike®, Knorr®,  Lipton®, Magnum® , Nexxus®, Noxzema®, Popsicle®, Q-Tips®, Ragu®, Simple®, Skippy®, St. Ives®, TIGI®, TRESemmé®, and Vaseline®.  All of the preceding brand names are registered trade-marks owned or used under license by Unilever Canada. Unilever Canada employs more than 1,600 people generating approximately $1.4 billion in sales in 2011.  For more information, please visit

About the survey
A total of 805 Canadian mothers with at least one child aged 17 or younger completed an online survey between December 17 and December 21, 2012 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

1Statistics Canada. Mortality Summary List of Causes, 2009.  Ottawa, June 2012.


SOURCE Unilever Canada Inc.

Video with caption: "Video: In its role as founding sponsor of The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign, Becel® wants to empower moms and encourage them to prioritize their own health and well-being as much as they do others.' Personalize this video at and encourage a mom today. ". Video available at: