The Public Health Agency of Canada‘s recently published How Healthy are Canadians? examines the last ten to fifteen years of available data investigating key risk factors, major chronic diseases and mood and anxiety disorders as well as overall life expectancy to ask the central question: How Healthy are Canadians?
This is the first national report to include surveillance on cross-cutting risk behaviours, chronic diseases and multi-morbidity and other health indicators, including influenza immunization, neonatal and infant mortality, premature mortality and health adjusted life expectancy.
In addition to the full report, you can also access their interactive data blog and quiz.
So How Healthy are Canadians?
Canadians are living longer and the difference in life expectancy between men and women is decreasing. The death rate for heart disease is considerably lower than before, thanks in large part to the important decrease in the number of people who smoke.
By contrast, the high rates of physical inactivity, sedentary behaviours and obesity rates, especially among Canada’s children and youth, are a major concern. The current overweight and obesity rates in Canada must be tackled, particularly in children, youth and young adult populations. Canadian youth are now being diagnosed with conditions and diseases, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, which were previously seen only in adults and are most likely a result of increased obesity. Diabetes overall is a major public health concern, as the prevalence rate has significantly risen over the past decade.
And while Canadians are living longer, it is important that they live longer in good health. More than 1 in 5 Canadian adults lives with a major chronic disease. As well, in the past 10 years, cancer surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death in Canada. And most chronic diseases are preventable. The WHO estimates that at least 80% of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and 40% of all cancers are preventable (See World Health Organization. Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment WHO global report. 2005). Central to the prevention of chronic disease are a few key risk factors.
Did you know?
- 2.7 million Canadians are living with diabetes (types 1 and 2 combined), and that number keeps rising.
- 2.3 million Canadians are living with heart disease.
- Almost 2 million Canadians are living with a chronic respiratory disease.
- Between 1999 and 2009, more than 800,000 Canadians received a cancer diagnosis.
- There is a strong link between mental health and chronic disease: 1 in 25 Canadians over the age of 20 say they live with a mood and/or anxiety disorder and a major chronic disease.