Activity-limiting Injuries, 2009

Personal injury is the leading cause of death of children and young adults,1 and is among the leading causes of hospitalization for children, young adults and seniors.2 Injury is also a major cause of long– and short–term impairment and disability for Canadians.3

The cost to Canadian society of injuries in 2004 was estimated at $19.8 billion, which includes the direct costs of health care as well as the indirect costs related to reduced productivity due to hospitalization, disability and premature death.4

The injury data presented below are based on questions from the Canadian Community Health Survey that asked about injuries in the previous 12 months, which were serious enough to limit normal activities. Injuries that limited activity included sprains, broken bones, cuts and burns, but excluded repetitive strain injuries.

One in seven suffered an activity limiting injury
In 2009, just over 4.1 million Canadians aged 12 years and older, or 14.6% of the population, suffered an activity-limiting injury. This was a slight increase from 13.3%, in 2001 (Chart 1). In 2009, 16.8% of males were injured, compared with 12.6% of females.

Chart 1
Percentage injured in previous year, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2001 to 2009

Description

Chart 1: Percentage injured in previous year, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2001 to 2009

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

Falls most common cause of injury
Falls were the most frequent cause of injury for both males (36.4%) and females (46.4%) (Chart 2). This was followed by overexertion, reported by 25.0% of males and 21.8% of females.

The risk of injury due to a fall was highest for those aged 65 and over. About 63.7% of seniors reported that they were injured in a fall.

Chart 2
Percentage of injuries due to falls, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 2: Percentage of injuries due to falls, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

Injuries often result of sports or physical exercise
Measured by activity, 40.7% of males and 27.5% of females were injured while taking part in sports or physical exercise (Chart 3).

Walking (18.9%) was the second most common injury–related activity for females, followed by household chores (13.4%). For males, 17.0% were working and 14.6% were doing household chores when they were injured.

Chart 3
Activity when injury occurred, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 3: Activity when injury occurred, by sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

Adolescents most likely to be injured
Among age groups, adolescents aged 12 to 19 had the highest injury rate. In 2009, 26.4% of adolescents suffered an injury, up slightly from 22.8% in 2001. The increase was particularly strong among adolescent girls, whose rate of injury rose from 18.4% in 2001 to 23.3% in 2009. Among adolescent boys, the rate increased from 26.9% to 29.4%.

Among males, injury rates declined with age (with the exception of those aged 35 to 44 and also 45 to 64, whose rates were similar); among women aged 20 and older, however, they remained relatively stable. For those aged 65 and older, men were less likely to be injured than women (8.3% versus 9.8%).

Chart 4
Percentage of people injured in past year, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Description

Chart 4: Percentage of people injured in past year, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2009

Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2009.

Over half sought medical treatment
Of those injured, 55.3% received treatment within 48 hours in 2009, down from 64.4% in 2001.

Of those who sought treatment, 53.7% went to a hospital emergency room, 16.5% went to a doctor's office and 12.5% visited a walk–in clinic. Overall, 5.9% were hospitalized overnight; however, among seniors this rate was 18.7%.

Highest injury rates in western provinces
The injury rate was higher than the national average in Manitoba, 17.3%; Alberta, 16.6%; and British Columbia, 16.5%. The rate was lower in Prince Edward Island, 11.2%; and Ontario, 13.8%. The remaining provinces and territories reported rates that were not significantly different from the national average.


End notes

1. Statistics Canada. 2009. Leading causes of death in Canada 2005. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 84-215-X. /pub/84-215-x/84-215-x2009000-eng.htm (accessed May 12, 2010).

2.The Economic Burden of Injury in Canada from www.smartrisk.ca (accessed May 12, 2010)

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

References

Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/injury-bles/facts-eng.php (accessed May 12, 2010) Statistics Canada. 2009.

The Economic Burden of Injury in Canada from www.smartrisk.ca (accessed May 12, 2010) Wilkins, Kathryn and Evelyn Park. 2004.

Leading causes of death in Canada 2005. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 84-215-X. /pub/84-215-x/84-215-x2009000-eng.htm (accessed May 12, 2010).

"Injuries." Health Reports. Vol. 15, no. 3. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 82-003. p.43–48. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2004/6850-eng.pdf (accessed May 12, 2010).

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from Table 1 (82-221-X), Table 2 (82-221-X), and CANSIM table 105–0501.

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