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Household income is based on self-reported total household income from all sources in the previous 12 months.  The ratio between total household income and the low income cut-off corresponding to the number of people in the household and community size was calculated.  The ratios were then adjusted by dividing them by the highest ratio for all Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) respondents.  The adjusted ratios were grouped into deciles (10 groups, each containing approximately one-tenth of Canadians) which were then collapsed into five household income categories: lowest (deciles 1 and 2), low-middle (deciles 3 and 4), middle (deciles 5 and 6), high-middle (deciles 7 and 8) and highest (deciles 9 and 10). 

Immigrant, years in Canada reflects the length of time respondents have lived in Canada since they immigrated: 0 to 4 years, 5 to 9 years, 10 to 14 years, 15 to 19 years, and 20 years or more.

Ethnic origin was based on the question, "People living in Canada come from many different cultural and racial backgrounds.  Are you:

1)    White?"
2)    Black?"
3)    Korean?"
4)    Filipino?"
5)    Japanese?"
6)    Chinese?"
7)    Southeast Asian?"
8)    South Asian?
9)    Arab?"
10)  West Asian?"
11)  Latin American?"
12)  Other racial or cultural origin?"
13)  Multiple racial/cultural origins?"
14)  Aboriginal (North American Indian, Métis, Inuit)?"

The following ethnic origin categories were used: White (1), Black (2), Southeast/East Asian  (3, 4, 5, 6, 7), Off-reserve Aboriginal (14), and Other (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13). 

Self-perceived health was determined by asking respondents, "In general, would you say your health is excellent, very good, good, fair or poor?"

To measure self-perceived stress, respondents aged 15 or older were asked, "Thinking about the amount of stress in your life, would you say that most days are not at all stressful, not very stressful, a bit stressful, quite a bit stressful, extremely stressful?"  Those who reported not at all stressful, not very stressful or a bit stressful were considered to have low stress.

Respondents were asked about long-term conditions that are expected to last or have already lasted six months or more and that have been diagnosed by a health professional, including "Do you have high blood pressure?"

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of weight relative to height.  For people aged 18 or older, it is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared.  BMI is not calculated for people shorter than 3 feet or 7 feet or taller, or for pregnant women.  CCHS respondents aged 18 or older whose BMI was 25.0 or less were categorized as not overweight or obese.  For respondents aged 12 to 17, the category not overweight or obese was derived according to age- and sex-specific BMI cut-off points as defined by Cole et al.16 

To estimate the percentage of people with activity restrictions, responses to the following items were considered:

  • "Do you have any difficulty hearing, seeing, communicating, walking, climbing stairs, bending, learning or doing similar activities?"
  • "Does a long-term physical or mental condition or health problem reduce the amount or the kind of activity you can do:
        ... at home?"
        ... at work?"
        ... at school?"
        ... in other activities, for example, transportation or leisure?"

Respondents could reply "sometimes," "often" or "never."  Those who replied "sometimes" or "often" to at least one item were categorized as having  activity restrictions.

Census metropolitan areas (CMAs)and census agglomerations (CAs) (http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Reference/dict/geo009.htm) consist of one or more adjacent municipalities situated around a major urban core.  To form a CMA, the urban core must have a population of at least 100,000.  To form a CA, the urban core must have a population of at least 10,000.

Census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zones(MIZ)are used to classify municipalities that are not included in a CMA or CA (http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Reference/dict/geo010.htm).  Municipalities are assigned to one of four categories depending on the percentage of residents who commute to work in the urban core of a CMA or CA:

  • Strong MIZ:  more than 30% of residents commute to work in a CMA or CA.
  • Moderate MIZ:  5% to 30% of residents commute to work in a CMA or CA.
  • Weak MIZ:  0% to 5% of residents commute to work in a CMA or CA.
  • No MIZ:  fewer than 40 or no residents commute to work in a CMA or CA.
  • Territories:  Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.