OTTAWA, Feb. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Saskatchewan gets a "D" and ranks 24th out of 29 regions on The Conference Board of Canada's How Canada Performs: Health report card. This is the first report card to compare Canada, the 10 provinces, three territories, and 15 peer countries.
"Saskatchewan does only marginally better than the United States, the worst-ranked peer country," said Gabriela Prada, Director, Health Innovation, Policy and Evaluation. "The province has the lowest life expectancy and the highest premature mortality rate among the provinces, and has one of the highest suicide and infant mortality rates in the country."
The How Canada Performs: Health report card assesses performance on 11 health status indicators.
Saskatchewan's worst grade is the "D-" it gets on infant mortality, with a higher mortality rate than that of the worst-ranked peer country, the United States. The province earns "D"s on life expectancy and premature mortality and is the worst-performing province on both indicators. Saskatchewan also scores a "D" on mortality due to diabetes. The province earns a "C" on suicides, but has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, ahead of only Nunavut and N.W.T.
Saskatchewan does better on other indicators, scoring "B"s on mortality due to cancer, heart disease and stroke, respiratory diseases and nervous system diseases as well as self-reported mental health. The province earns its only "A" on self-reported health, a measure of how people feel about their own health. However, all provinces and territories score at least an "A" grade in this indicator.
Lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, vegetable consumption, smoking, and heavy drinking play an important role in health outcomes. The prevalence of many chronic diseases could be significantly reduced by investing in health promotion and prevention programs.
Poorer health outcomes among Aboriginal populations may be a contributing factor to Saskatchewan's overall performance. Manitoba and Saskatchewan—both of which receive "D"s on the overall report card—have the highest proportion of Aboriginal people among the provinces at over 15 per cent, well above the Canadian average. Socio-economic factors such as poverty, education, and housing have a huge impact on the health of the population. Addressing the socio-economic conditions among the province's Aboriginal populations may help improve health outcomes in Saskatchewan.
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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