Volume 94, Issue 69

Thursday, January 25, 2001


Government initiates funding for more nursing

Helicopter improves cops: prof

Year-round school to be debated

Free trade could span education and health

Canadians getting older and healthier


Planet Me

Canadians getting older and healthier

By Adam Stewart
Gazette Staff

According to a new study, Canadians are living longer and healthier lives.

"We're not only living longer, but we're living healthier," said Doug Manuel, researcher for the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and co-author of the study, released yesterday.

"Overall, [life expectancy] was 78.8 years in Ontario," Manuel said. He added improving economics, social environment and lifestyle factors such as fewer smokers, all contributed to the increase in life expectancy.

Manuel said different measures were used to evaluate quality of life in Canada between 1990 and 1997 including the quality of the social environment, health care, and income levels. Death certificates were used to determine death rates, he said. "Life expectancy between local areas is getting wider," Manuel added.

According to Manuel, these regional differences may be explained by differences in health care funding, health behaviour and the social environment. He added people living in urban areas have higher qualities of life than those in rural areas.

Manuel noted quality of life and life expectancy decreased from the Western part of the country to the East, with Newfoundland ranking last in each of the two categories.

"Health expenditures have risen dramatically since 1975. However, the rate of growth has slowed significantly in the 1990s as a result of health reforms and cost containment measures," said Steve Jeffery, spokesperson for Health Canada.

"To maintain and improve the health of Canadians and reduce inequalities in health status will require a co-ordinated effort involving all levels of government, non-government organizations, the private sector, and both formal and informal community organizations," Jeffery added.

Trish Fulton, dean of the Faculty of arts and social science at Huron University College, said social environment, family situations, urban density and income play important roles in life expectancy and quality of life.

Fulton said she believes in a broader role for the health care system. "The greatest expenditures from the health care system go to the last six weeks [of life]. If you want to have an impact on longevity, you have to educate people."

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