OTTAWA, Feb. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Despite cultural similarities and physical proximity, the Maritime provinces have varied results when it comes to population health, according to The Conference Board of Canada's How Canada Performs: Health report card. This is the first health report card to compare Canada, the 10 provinces, three territories, and 15 peer countries.
"The Maritimes provinces present a mixed bag of results," said Gabriela Prada, Director, Health Innovation, Policy and Evaluation. "Nova Scotia stands out as the poorest performer among the three, with an overall "D" grade, and ranking 22nd among the 29 regions. New Brunswick earns a "C" and finishes 17th. Meanwhile, P.E.I. earns a "B" and ranks 12th. "
- Nova Scotia is the lowest-ranking Maritime province, earning an overall "D" on health, and ranking 22nd among 29 comparator regions.
- P.E.I. and New Brunswick are middle-of-the-pack performers scoring overall "B" and "C" grades, respectively.
- All three Maritime provinces rank low on mortality due to cancer and respiratory diseases.
The How Canada Performs: Health report card assesses performance on 11 health status indicators.
P.E.I.'s "A" for the second-lowest suicide rate in the country (after Ontario) helps pull up its overall grade. P.E.I. scores "B" grades on four indicators: premature mortality, infant mortality, mortality due to diabetes, and mortality due to nervous system diseases. P.E.I. also earns four "C"s—on life expectancy and on mortality due to cancer, respiratory diseases, and heart disease and stroke. The province has no "D"s.
Although New Brunswick gets "B" grades for life expectancy and heart disease and stroke, its mortality due to diabetes and its suicide rate are worse than P.E.I.'s, contributing to its overall "C" grade for Health.
Nova Scotia's "D" on mortality due to cancer drags down its overall grade for Health. Nova Scotia also ranks relatively low on life expectancy and infant mortality, earning "C" grades on both.
All three Maritime provinces get "A"s for self-reported health, a measure of how people feel about their own health. While they do fare better than peer countries on some indicators, their performance on self-reported health is a strong contrast to their other health status indicators, particularly mortality due to cancer and respiratory diseases.
Smoking rates in these three provinces are higher than the Canadian average as is exposure to second-hand smoke which contributes to the high incidence of respiratory diseases. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. also have among the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates in Canada.
The Maritime provinces also have among the highest obesity rates in Canada—over a quarter of the adult population are considered obese. Obesity is a significant contributing factor to many chronic conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. In fact, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. have some of the highest diabetes prevalence rates in Canada.
The How Canada Performs findings highlight the impact of lifestyle factors on health outcomes. The prevalence of many chronic diseases could be significantly reduced by investing in health promotion and prevention programs.
How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada's socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.
Released today, and building on previous How Canada Performs analyses, the Health report card is the third of six to be produced on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. The Economy and Education and Skills report cards were published in 2014. The remaining report cards will follow over the year.
This is the first year that provincial and territorial rankings are included in the report cards. Further details, including information on data sources and the methodology behind the rankings, can be found on the How Canada Performs website.
Watch a video commentary by Gabriela Prada, Director, Health Innovation, Policy and Evaluation.
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