2016 Chief Public Health Officer’s report
The 2016 Chief Public Health Officer’s report on health trends was released today by the Department of Health and Wellness as part of its responsibility to monitor and report to the public on the health of the population.
Like other provinces, the majority of PEI’s disease burden is caused by four chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart and lung disease. These four diseases are closely linked to four behavioural risk factors: poor diet, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the focus of her latest report is on health equity. “The report takes a close look at the impact that the social determinants have on the health of our population,” said Dr. Morrison. “It is clear that Islanders with the lowest income and education levels have the lowest rates of health and those in the highest income and education groups show the opposite trend.”
The report indicates that the majority of Islanders intend to do something to improve their health in the coming year. “I am encouraged that so many of us are wanting to make healthy lifestyle improvements,” she said. “I am hopeful that Islanders, with the help of public health, governments, other sectors, volunteer and non-government organizations can create more health equity for all. By looking at our wellness together, we can prevent disease and realize the opportunity to be healthy Islanders.”
Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said the report is produced every two years to keep the public informed of changing health trends.
“This is an excellent report that contains very useful information that can be used by government departments and community groups to inform health policy and programs,” he said.
“Recognizing that many of the social determinants of health lie outside the health care system, we are making a concerted effort to get this information into the hands of people who can use it to improve population health and health equity. Working together, we can give more Islanders a greater chance at better health.”
The report includes a Health Trends section which provides an overview of the health status and determinants of Islanders. Following are some of the highlights:
• Smoking is a major risk factor for PEI’s top four causes of death which are cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. Smoking rates are higher in PEI than in Canada, which contributes to PEI’s increased mortality rates.
• 70 percent of Islanders report excellent or very good mental health which is similar to the Canadian rate of 72 percent.
• Islanders in the lowest income levels have significantly poorer mental health and those in the highest levels have significantly higher mental health.
• Females, Islanders with the lowest income and those aged 35 to 64 are more likely to seek treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.
• Islanders are more likely to be obese than Canadians. 63 percent of Islanders are either overweight or obese.
• 1 in 10 Islanders aged 20+ have diabetes. This is higher than the Canadian average and rates are highest among Islanders with low income.
• 1 in 3 Islanders aged 20+ have high blood pressure. This is higher than the Canadian average and rates are highest among Islanders with low income.
• 1 in 12 Islanders aged 20+ have heart disease. This is higher than the Canadian average and rates are highest among Islanders with low income.
• Almost 1 in 10 Islanders 35+ have COPD. This rate is highest among Islanders with low income.
• The most common types of cancer in PEI women are lung, colorectal and breast cancers while the most common types of cancer in PEI men are lung, colorectal and prostate.
• In the past decade the incidence of colorectal cancer has stabilized, the incidence of prostate cancer in men has been decreasing, and the incidence of breast cancer in women has stabilized.
• PEI is more inactive than Canada (48.3 percent vs 43.9 percent). Activity levels decrease with age and increase with higher income levels.
• Chronic disease rates increase with age and decrease with higher income levels.
• Of Islanders who consume alcohol, 26 percent would be considered heavy drinkers, similar to the Canadian rate of 24.4 percent. Males and younger Islanders are more likely to be heavy drinkers.
• PEI has a higher daily smoking rate than Canada (17.2 percent vs 13.3 percent). Daily smoking rates are higher for males, the middle-aged and Islanders with the lowest income.
• 56 percent of Islanders intend to do something to improve their health within the next year. Islanders aged 20 to 34 are more likely to intend to do something to improve their health whereas seniors are less likely.
• Islanders report a stronger sense of community belonging compared with Canada (73.7 percent vs 66.2 percent). Adolescents and seniors report high sense of belonging with young adults reporting lower levels. Islanders with lower incomes have less sense of community belonging.
Download the full report 2016 Chief Public Health Officer’s report: Health for all Islanders.
Health and Wellness
(902) 368 5512