Island residents face shorter life expectancy than provincial average, VIHA report says

The Health Status of Vancouver Island Residents Report 2010 looked at a variety of health indicators and social factors that impact long-term health.

  • Aug. 25, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Vancouver Island residents are at risk of a reduced life expectancy, according to a report issued by Vancouver Island Health Authority’s chief medical health officer.

The Health Status of Vancouver Island Residents Report 2010 looked at a variety of health indicators and social factors that impact long-term health.

“Overall, residents in our region have higher rates of physical activity and healthy eating compared to other regions,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick.

“Unfortunately, the global economic downturn has impacted our region’s socio-economic conditions which can undermine long-term health status.”

Among some of the report’s findings, Stanwick noted Vancouver Island’s slightly higher premature mortality rate, its growing over-65 population and a change in life-expectancy trends.

Universal gains in life expectancy have also lagged slightly on Vancouver Island compared to the provincial average.

Additionally, the maintenance of a healthy weight continues to be a challenge for individuals locally, provincially and nationally, wrote Stanwick in the report’s final pages.

“We continue to be national leaders in healthy eating but the size of our lead is diminishing and our collective waistlines are not.”

To help counter possible long-term effects of the risk factors, Stanwick underlined the importance of prevention programs.

“For example, our premature mortality rates are higher than the provincial average. These rates are due to suicides, motor vehicle crashes and diseases, many of which are associated with alcohol abuse and smoking, which are entirely preventable.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com