Health

In 2010, most Canadians (60%) considered themselves to be in good or excellent health. This was the same percentage as in 2009. However, 24% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported that most of their days were very or extremely stressful, up from 22% in 2008.

Canadians' life expectancy increased substantially from 1996 to 2008. A male born in 2006–2008 has a life expectancy of 78.5 years, while a female could expect to live 83.1 years; in 1996–1998, it was 75.7 years and 81.3 years, respectively.

Cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death for Canadians, were responsible for just over half of the 238,617 deaths recorded in Canada in 2008. Cancer accounted for 30% of deaths and heart disease for 21%, compared to 29% and 25%, respectively, in 2000.

Health-related behaviours

In 2010, 6.0 million people or 21% of the population aged 12 and older smoked either daily or occasionally. Almost 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women smoked either daily or occasionally.

Approximately 15% of youths aged 12 to 19, the youngest group targeted by the survey, were exposed to second-hand smoke at home in 2010. Although this was the highest rate for any age group, it was much lower than the 23% recorded in 2003.

Among people who had never smoked, 65% reported very good or excellent health, compared with 60% of former smokers and 51% of current smokers.

In 2010, 43% of Canadians aged 12 and older reported that they consumed fruits and vegetables five or more times a day, down from 46% in 2009, but an increase from 38% in 2001. Half of all women aged 12 and older (50%) reported consuming fruit and vegetables five or more times a day, compared with 36% of men.

In 2010, 52% of Canadians were at least moderately active during their leisure time, unchanged from 2003. This average level of activity is equivalent to walking about 30 minutes a day or taking an hour-long exercise class at least three times a week. The most popular leisure-time physical activity was walking.

Overweight or obese with high blood pressure

Just over half (52%) of adults aged 18 and older in 2010 reported a weight and height that classified them as either overweight or obese, up from 49% in 2003. Men (61%) were more likely than women (44%) to be either overweight or obese. One-third of Canadians who were obese had high blood pressure, compared with 15% of those who were not.

Among Canadians aged 12 and older in 2010, 68% who reported a normal body weight also had very good or excellent health, compared with 59% who reported they were overweight and 42% who reported they were obese.

In 2010, 17% of Canadians aged 12 and older reported having high blood pressure. In general, these rates have climbed steadily for the past decade, and men have been more likely than women to report high blood pressure; however, in 2010, for the first time since data became available, no gap was observed between the high blood pressure rates of men and women.

Access to a doctor

While the majority of Canadians have access to health services, 4.4 million (15%) did not have a regular doctor in 2010. This proportion has increased from 12% in 2001. Men in all but the 55-to-64 age group were less likely than women to have a regular doctor.

The percentage of people without a regular doctor declines steadily with age. In 2010, it was 27% for 20- to 34-year-olds, 18% for 35- 44-year-olds and 5% for those aged 65 and older.

In 2010, 82% of Canadians who did not have a regular medical doctor reported having a place where they usually went when ill or when in need of health advice. Of those, 62% went to a walk-in clinic, 13% visited a hospital emergency room and 9% used a community health centre or, in Quebec, a centre local de services communautaires.

In 2010, five provinces had a proportion of residents without a regular doctor below the national average of 15%: Newfoundland and Labrador (11%), Prince Edward Island (8.9%), Nova Scotia (6.4%), New Brunswick (7.6%) and Ontario (9.2%).

Compared to the national average, a higher proportion of residents of Quebec (25%), Alberta (21%), Yukon (23%), the Northwest Territories (60%) and Nunavut (87%) were without a regular doctor. In the territories, a nurse practitioner rather than a medical doctor is often used as the first point of medical contact.

Chart 17.1 Perceived life stress, by age group and sex, 2010
View data source for chart 17.1

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