Newfoundland gets D grade for healthy living

Deana Stokes Sullivan dss@thetelegram.com
Published on May 17, 2013

Newfoundland and Labrador has been given a “D” grade in a new Conference Board of Canada report on healthy living.

The province was given an overall D grade and individual Ds for four of five lifestyle factors.

The behaviours in the lifestyle factors category include:

·   Heavy drinking;

·   Overweight or obese adults;

·   Smoking;

·   Fruit and vegetable consumption;

·   Physical activity.

Newfoundland and Labrador was given a D in all categories, except smoking. In that category, the province received a better ranking — but not much better — a C.

This analysis is part of a bigger report, titled "Paving the Road to Higher Performance: Benchmarking Provincial Health Systems," released Thursday.

British Columbia earned the best grade among the provinces, obtaining As in all but one indicator. It was given a B in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Ontario, Alberta and Quebec earned overall B grades. Quebec achieved A grades in two indicators — overweight or obese adults, and fruit and vegetable consumption, but its overall grade fell to a B because of comparatively high smoking rates and a lower level of physical activity.

 Prince Edward Island, received two B and three D grades for the five lifestyle factors and an overall D grade.

 “The provinces that rank higher in lifestyle factors also perform better in overall health status. These findings highlight the importance of health promotion and disease prevention programs to control demand for health care services,” Gabriela Prada, the conference board's director of health innovation, policy and evaluation, said in a news release.

 “Our analysis is not meant to ‘shame and blame’ provinces that do relatively poorly on any given indicator,” said Prada. “Our intention is to identify performance achievements and gaps so that all provinces are better equipped to make decisions that will improve health care systems and population health.”

The latest findings released are the second of four categories published by the Conference Board of Canada in its benchmarking of provincial health systems, produced under the Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care. In all, 90 indicators are assessed in the categories of lifestyle factors, health status, health resources, and health care system performance.

The remaining segments to be released are health system resources and performance on May 22 and overall grades on May 23.

The overall findings will be revealed at the Conference Board of Canada’s Western Summit on Sustainable Health, being held May 22-23 in Edmonton, Alta.