Even though every community in Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health beat the Canadian average for physical activity guidelines, as many as one in four residents are considered obese, a major risk factor for chronic disease onset. That’s one of the surprising findings from the My Health My Community survey results being released today.
The My Health My Community survey data has been compiled into community profiles, which give a snapshot of each community’s health and wellbeing. The profiles are based on survey results from adults aged 18 and up in 40 communities, conducted during 2013 and 2014. With 33,000 responses, this is the largest community health survey ever conducted in B.C.
The health and wellness data gathered on residents at the community level will help residents, community agencies and local governments understand factors influencing health in their communities.
Here are a few of the highlights from the survey:
- Access to a family doctor varies across communities; however in areas where residents report having more chronic disease (e.g. diabetes) they also tend to have better access to family doctors.
- Whistler, Squamish, West Vancouver, Lions Bay and Bowen Island have the best physical activity rates.
- 65% of Vancouver residents walk, cycle or use public transit (aka active transit) as their primary commuting mode. This is the highest rate in VCH and Fraser Health, three times higher than the B.C. and Canadian averages.
- West Vancouver and Lions Bay residents self-reported their physical and mental health as the best in all of the Lower Mainland.
- Bowen Island residents eat the most fruits and vegetables – the best rate.
- 93% of Sechelt residents report having a family doctor – the highest rate.
- Squamish residents have the best blood pressure rates.
- Gibsons residents are the least stressed.
- Rural Sunshine Coast has the lowest smoking rate.
This new data is incredibly valuable because it will enable the health authorities to work upstream to prevent injuries and chronic disease through efforts with local governments, health care planners and community stakeholders in developing healthy public policies. This will be critical for people’s health and for ensuring the sustainability of the health care system.