Saskatoon – The first in a series of online reports released today by Saskatoon Health Region looks at factors influencing opportunities for Region residents to be healthy.
The Health Region’s Public Health Observatory examined existing data relating to jobs, education, income, housing and population growth trends to develop a high level overview of the Region’s population. The results, while good news in many areas, also highlight points of concern.
“Data of the nature we’ve compiled today are vital for developing action plans to address health needs in the future,” says Saskatoon Health Region Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Cory Neudorf. “Better information means better decisions which leads to better health.”
Some significant findings include:
- Jobs and education: Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate of 4.3 per cent is lower than any other Canadian province. And nearly nine out of every 10 people have at least a high school education. Yet, about 40 per cent of those without a high school education don’t have a job - a factor which can lead to poor health.
- Income: Many people in Saskatoon Health Region earn more than the average Canadian. However, nearly one in five children under six years of age lives in a low income household.
- A place to live: Housing prices have more than tripled over the last 13 years in Saskatoon. About one in four people in the Region spends nearly a third of their income on shelter, more than the typical Canadian. When people struggle to afford a place to live, or have no place to live, they are more likely to have poor health.
“I believe we can create a community where everyone has a chance to live a healthy life,” says Neudorf. Many organizations, agencies and individuals have worked together to improve the Region’s health since comparative data were released by the Public Health Observatory in 2008, and Neudorf would like to see that momentum continue. “As a health services community, I think we can all do more to reduce poverty, that we can take a more holistic approach to improving the health and wellbeing of First Nations and Métis Peoples and that we need to urgently plan health and other human services to support a larger and more culturally diverse population in the future.”
These data, compiled from Statistics Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and other sources, are summarized on www.communityview.ca. In the coming months, Saskatoon Health Region will release additional online reports showing how the health system can contribute to better health for everyone as well as more detailed information on the Region’s health status and wellbeing.