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Monday, 22 April 2013

Life expectancy may be decreasing for certain population groups - the negative implications of current government economic contractions

BC Health Officers Council seem to have pulled another hat out of the bag. A study on life expectancy across the province which has implications for all of Canada.  

Most importantly the health difference between the riches areas and poorest is growing.  Life Expectancy is spread across 10 years in the province.  The study however ecologically links imputed socioeconomic  variables of deprivation and education with life expectancy and demonstrates what many suspected.

Those with resource are getting healthier faster.   A full 14 month increase in life expectancy over consecutive five year periods.   Those with the least resources gained only 1 month total life expectancy.  

The disturbing part was those in the 4th of the five quintiles, sometimes referred to at an individual level as the “working poor” saw life expectancy decrease by 3 months. 

Not to be over interpreted, we are looking at populations ranging from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands, and contraction in life expectancy refers to reduction at the population level and not amongst those individuals living in socioeconomic quintiles – but it does beg a lot of questions.  Read the report at HOC website 

National variation was noted in the CIHI health indicators 2012 report available at CIHI health indicators 2012 where age standardized mortality varied from 155 per 100,000 in Richmond (also the highest life expectancy in the above report) to almost a doubling of 365 in Prairie North of Saskatchewan.  Data by necessity is needed to drive change, and report cards can elicit some interest.  Data however do not appear to be sufficient to drive change of themselves.  Who is best .  

There are still people out there that don’t believe health and wealth are related, who deny climate change is happen, and even a few that still believe the world is flat and the sun circles the earth.   We need to focus on those that are willing to look to the future and not worry so much about changing the opinions of those that perhaps are fixed in their beliefs.   

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