While negative reports about health seem to flood the news more often than not, today British Columbians have something to celebrate: The Conference Board of Canada has ranked the province third in the world for health performance.
Marking each province and territory along with 15 peer countries on a grade scale from A to D, The Conference Board gave A ratings to Switzerland, Sweden and British Columbia. B.C is also the only province in the country to receive an A in the health report card.
In a report released by the provincial government, Health Minister Terry Lake attributes our high score to the services provided by our health care system.
“This ranking reflects the high priority government places on the health and quality of life of British Columbians … Significant promotion of a healthy lifestyle through our Health Families BC strategy has resulted in not only maintaining and improving the health of individuals, but also in slowing the rise of chronic diseases, such as obesity, heart disease and cancer,” said Lake.
He also made note of the score in light of the province spending the lowest per capita in the country on health care. As of 2013, B.C. spent $5,775 per capita on health care compared to $5,835 in Ontario and $6,787 in Alberta.
Regardless of the province’s spending, the report showed British Columbia has one of the longest life expectancies in the world at 82.2 years. B.C.’s highest scoring areas were life expectancy, premature mortality, self-reported health status and mortality due to cancer, which all received A grades.
B grades were scored in infant mortality, mortality due to heart disease and stroke, self-reported mental health, mortality due to respiratory disease, mortality due to diseases of the nervous system and suicides.
B.C.’s lowest grade was a C for mortality due to diabetes.
While the provincial government attributes our health score to government initiatives such as the BC Healthy Living Alliance and the Healthy Families BC strategy, the healthy habits of British Columbians and our geography are also helpers.
The report indicated people in B.C. have lower than average daily smoking and drinking rates, are more physically active and have the lowest obesity rate in the country.
Canada as a whole received a B ranking in 10th place on the report. The lowest scoring Canadian provinces and territories that received a D grade were Nunavut, North West Territories, Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. The United States also received a D grade at number 25 on the list of 29.
16. United Kingdom
17. New Brunswick
22. Nova Scotia
25. United States
26. Newfoundland and Labrador
28. North West Territories
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