Vancouver, BC – Even though every community in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Fraser Health (FH) 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 across FH and VCH, conducted during 2013 and 2014.
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.
The main findings include:
- There is significant variation in self-reported physical and mental health across communities, with much of that variation likely due to differences in the underlying determinants of health
- 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.
- Opportunities exist to improve lifestyle behaviors including quitting smoking, eating healthy, exercising more, and drinking responsibly.
- Compact urban centres better support active transportation modes like walking and biking, as well as have access to more community services.
- Residents in rural communities tend to have a stronger sense of community belonging, and are a little better prepared for emergencies.
For each of the communities, the survey reports results in five areas; health status, lifestyle behaviors that impact health, primary care access, the built environment and community resiliency. Social determinants of health—immigration, education, income and ethnicity are also included.
”With 33,000 responses, this is the largest community health survey ever conducted in B.C. We want this rich and granular data to spark community level dialogue about creating health promoting environments and reducing health inequities.”
“This new data is incredibly valuable because it will enable us to work upstream to prevent injuries and chronic disease through our efforts with local governments, health care planners and community stakeholders in developing healthy public policies. This will be critical for our population health and well-being, and ensuring the sustainability of our health care system.”
“The survey is like a blood-test for our communities. The results provide us with valuable information that our Medical Health Officers can use to ‘diagnose’ the health of our region. We can then focus our work with municipalities and local stakeholders to create a roadmap of good health for the future.
“The data collected through My Health My Community provides a solid foundation to work towards our Healthy City Strategy’s vision of ‘A Healthy City for All’. It gives us a rich understanding of how planning healthy and sustainable communities that include social amenities, health services, access to employment opportunities and transportation options can make a big difference to people’s health and well-being.”
“As Co-Chair of Langley’s Healthier Community Partnership, this data will be invaluable for our community as we continue to improve our individual health along with the goal of building healthier communities. The data collected, specific to Langley, such as levels of physical activity, health status, and our transportation networks will aid us in designing our future programs and services.”
My Health My Community, a partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and the eHealth Strategy
Office at the University of British Columbia, reflects the goals of the Province’s Healthy Families BC
strategy, which focuses on improving the health and wellness of British Columbians through programs that help address healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and fostering healthy communities.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health care services to more than 1.7 million people living in communities stretching from Burnaby to White Rock to Hope. Our quality health care services range from acute care hospitals to community-based residential, home health, mental health and public health services.
The eHealth Strategy Office carries out research, community engagement and educational activities to explore how modern information and communication technologies (e.g. mobile and web-based applications, etc.) can improve health care. Though there are several research groups in eHealth or Health Informatics in Canada and worldwide, the eHealth Strategy Office uniquely combines research and educational expertise in eHealth and community engagement projects.
Tiffany Akins, Communications Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health
Fraser Health media pager: 604-450-7881