Perceived health, 2009

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Perceived health is an indicator of overall health status. It can reflect aspects of health not captured in other measures, such as incipient disease, disease severity, physiological and psychological reserves and social and mental function. Perceived health refers to a person's health in general—not only the absence of disease or injury, but also physical, mental and social well being.

In 2009, 60.5% of Canadians aged 12 years and older assessed their health as 'very good' or 'excellent,' up from 58.9% in 2008.

From 2001 to 2007, males were more likely than females to report very good or excellent health, but in 2008 and 2009 there was no significant difference between the sexes (Chart 1).

Chart 1
Percentage reporting very good or excellent health, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2001 to 2009

Description

Chart 1: Percentage reporting very good or excellent health, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2001 to 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Very good or excellent health decreased with each age group over 19 years of age. The only significant difference between males and females was at 45 to 54 years, where females had a higher perceived health than males (Chart 2).

Chart 2
Percentage reporting very good or excellent health, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 2: Percentage reporting very good or excellent health, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

Among Canadians who had never smoked, 64.7% reported very good or excellent health, compared with 60.5% of former smokers and 51.5% of current smokers (Chart 3).

Body weight is also important to perceived health. Among those of normal weight—based on respondent–reported height and weight and Health Canada guidelines on Body Mass Index (BMI)—67.5% were in very good or excellent health, compared with 59.8% of overweight Canadians and 43.5% of obese Canadians (Chart 3).

Chart 3
Percentage with very good to excellent health, by smoking status and Body Mass Index, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 3: Percentage with very good to excellent health, by smoking status and Body Mass Index, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

Research has shown that people who feel a sense of belonging to a local community tend to enjoy better physical and mental health.1 In 2009, 64.2% of people who reported a very strong or somewhat strong sense of belonging to their local community also reported very good or excellent health, compared with 55.5% of those who felt weaker ties to their local community.

The proportion of residents reporting very good or excellent health was lower than the national average in four jurisdictions: New Brunswick, 55.0%; British Columbia, 58.6%; the Northwest Territories, 51.8%; and Nunavut, 47.0%. Residents of the other provinces and territories reported very good or excellent health at approximately the national average rate.

Because of the strong relationship between age and perceived health, a province or territory with a disproportionately 'younger' population would be expected to have a perceived health rate above the national average. Conversely, a province or territory with an 'older' population should have a perceived health rate below the national average. To remove the effect of different age distributions, the rates of very good or excellent perceived health were recalculated as if the age groups in each province and territory were the same as at the national level. Based on these age-standardizing calculations, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut remained below the national average. British Columbia joined the other provinces and territories reporting very good or excellent health at approximately the national average rate.


End notes

1. Ross, Nancy. 2002. "Community Belonging and Health." Health Reports. Vol. 13, no. 3. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p.35. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2002/6105-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

References

Ross, Nancy. 2002. "Community Belonging and Health." Health Reports. Vol. 13, no. 3. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p.35. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2002/6105-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0501.

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