HEALTH REPORT

MEASURING DISABILITY FREE LIFE EXPECTANCY

A NEW CONCEPT

October 29 2001
HEALTH REPORT

MEASURING DISABILITY FREE LIFE EXPECTANCY

A NEW CONCEPT

October 29 2001

MEASURING DISABILITY FREE LIFE EXPECTANCY

A NEW CONCEPT

We’re just trying to keep one step ahead of things,” says 81-year-old Ralph Morton. The long-retired businessman hadn’t even been on a bike for about 40 years when he joined the Cyclopaths, a group of cyclists in Belleville, Ont., eight years ago. Since then, he’s been a regular participant in their twice-weekly 40-km jaunts. In June, they spent a week peddling through Prince Edward Island. Next summer, the Cyclopaths plan to bike and barge in Holland. Morton says he just does it to stay active and enjoy life. “If I didn’t get regular exercise,” he says, “I’d feel lousy."

Morton epitomizes the new statistical category at the heart of Maclean’s third annual report on the status of health of Canadians: disabilityfree life expectancy. It’s a quality-of-life concept that builds on the traditional longevity stats to predict how long members of a population are likely to remain able-bodied. In an aging society, it’s a sobering reminder that, while life expectancies have been growing, Canadians, on average, may spend a decade or so in less than full health.

By staying active and fit, people like Morton are doing their best to prolong their healthy years.

THE OUTLOOK FOR NEWBORNS

Years of disability-free life expectancy at birth Life expectancy at birth Both sexes Males Females Both sexes Males Females

CANADA

67.1 65.5 68.7

78.4 75.4 81.2

Laval, Que. 71.1

North/West Vancouver 70.9

Quebec City 70

Longueuil/Brossard/Granby, Que. 70

Lévis, Que. 69.3

Montreal 69.2

St-Jérôme/Ste-Thérèse, Que. 69

Mississauga/Brampton/Burlington, Ont. 68.9 Joliette, Que. 68.7

Trois-Rivières/Drummondville, Que. 68.6

Rimouski, Que. 68.5

Chicoutimi, Que. 68.5

Markham/Richmond Hill, Ont. 68.2

Surrey, B.C. 68.1

Vancouver/Richmond 68.1

Sherbrooke, Que. 68

Victoria 67.7

Toronto 67.5

Calgary 67.5

Burnaby/Coquitlam/New Westminster, B.C. 67.5

Kelowna, B.C. Kitchener/Waterloo, Ont. Hull/Aylmer, Que.

St. John’s, Nfld.

Regina Saskatoon Moncton, N.B.

Ottawa

Témiscaming, Que.

Winnipeg

Peterborough, Ont.

Owen Sound, Ont.

Edmonton

Prince Edward Island St. Catharines/Niagara, Ont. Nanaimo, B.C.

Lethbridge, Alta.

Red Deer, Alta.

Chilliwack, B.C.

Fredericton London, Ont. Halifax/Dartmouth Hamilton

Windsor/Sarnia, Ont.

Prince George, B.C. Brantford, Ont.

Saint John, N.B.

Kingston, Ont.

Kamloops, B.C. Yarmouth/Digby, N.S. Thunder Bay, Ont.

North Bay/Huntsville, Ont. Sudbury, Ont.

Cape Breton, N.S.

67.4

67.3 67 66.9 66.8

66.7 66.6 66.6

66.5

66.5

66.4

66.4

66.3 66

65.8

65.8

65.6

65.6

65.6

65.4

65.4

65.2 65.1 65

64.9 64.8

64.7

64.7

64.6

63.8

63.4 63

62.7

60.3

69.5

70.1

67.2

68.3 66.8

67.3

67.1

68.3

66.9

66.1

65.9 66.2

67.4

67.1 66 65.8

66.3 66

66.7

66.2

65.8 66.2

65.2

64.8 65

65.5

64.5

65.4

64.3

65.3

65.1

64.7

65.3

63.8

64.5

64.1

64.1

64.2

64.1

63.5

63.9

63.5

63.8

63.5 63

63.2

62.9 63 63

61.5

61.7 61

60.8

57.6

72.6

71.8

72.6

71.8 72 71

70.9

69.6

70.7

71.1

71.2

70.7

69.1 69

70.3

70.2

69.1

68.9

68.4

68.7

68.9

68.5 69 69

68.7

67.9

68.8

67.7

68.9

67.7

67.6 68

67.3

68.4

67.2

67.6

67.1

67.1 67

67.3

66.8

66.9

66.4

66.5

67.3

66.3

66.4

66.5

66.3

66.2

65.3 65.2

64.7

62.9

78.8

80.4

78.1 78.3

78.2

78.1

77.3

80.1

77.4

77.4

78

76.8

79.6

79.6 79.2

77.9

79.7

79.4

79.5

79.1

80.2

78.9

77.1

78.1 78.3

78.9

78.8

79

76.2

78.1

78.3

78.2

78.8

77.9

78.3

78.3 77.7

78.3

78.6

77.7

78.2 78 78

77.7

76.6

77.7

77.6

77.7

77.2

77.5

75.9

76.7

76.6 76.1

75.9

78.2

74.3

75.4

74.7

74.8

74.4

77.7

74.4

73.7

74.6

73.3

77.3

77.1

75.5

74.5

77.2

76.3 77

76.2

77.4

76.1

74

75.1

75

76

75.4

76.3

73.1

75.4

75.9

75.6

76.3

74.5

75.7

75.5

74.7

75.9 76

74.8

75.2

75.1

75.4

74.8

73.9 75

74.7

74.7

74.3

74.5

73.1

73.7

73.8

72.8

81.4

82.4

81.5 81.1 81.8 81 80.2

82.3

80.5 81

81.6

80.3 81.8 82 82.9 81.2 82 82.2 81.8 81.8

83.2

81.5 80.1 81.1

81.5 81.8

82.2

81.3

79.8

80.5

80.7

80.9

81.3

81.5

80.8 81.2

80.7

80.8 81.2

80.7 81

80.6 80.6 80.6

79.8

80.4

80.3 80.6

80.3

80.5

78.9 79.8

79.6

79.4

Previous editions of this report have identified the healthiest clusters of Canadians, most notably in and around Vancouver and Toronto. Last year’s report, embracing 51 health regions with populations over 100,000, based its findings on 16 indicators of community health. They included infant mortality and low-birth weights, incidence of deaths by cancers, circulatory and respiratory diseases, and overall life expectancy for each region. For the most part, the data were averages of information collected in the three years from 1995 to 1997. That’s still the latest information at the health region level available from Statistics Canada.

But the accompanying data are new, estimating disability-free life expectancies in descending order for all 54 Canadian health regions with populations over 125,000. “Quality of life is of more interest to Canadians than just knowing how long we are expected to live,” says Statistics Canada analyst Jason Gilmore. One chart shows the outlook for newborns: on average a life expectancy of 78.4 years, 67.1 of them disability free. The other shows that among those who make it to the age of 65, the outlook is brighter-they can expect 11 of their remaining 18.2 years to be disability free. Because Statistics Canada sees a lot of interest in this kind of data, its analysts are working on more qualityof-life indicators. One would measure what it calls health-adjusted life expectancy, a composite measure taking into account vision, hearing, mobility, mental state and other variable factors that are not necessarily disabling. The idea, says Gilmore, “is to help people better understand the state of health and well-being of Canadians.”

HOW IT LOOKS AT AGE 65

Years of disability-free life expectancy at 65 Life expectancy at 65

Both sexes Males Females Both sexes Males Females

CANADA

11 10.2 11.6 18.2 16.1 19.9

11.2

11.3

10.8

Laval, Que. 12.7 11.8

Quebec City 12.4 11

North/West Vancouver 12.3 12.1

Montreal 12.2 11.4

Longueuil/Brossard/Granby, Que. 12

Vancouver/Richmond 12

Trois-Rivières/Drummondville, Que. 11.9

Lévis, Que. 11.8 10.6

St-Jérôme/Ste-Thérèse, Que. 11.8 10.9

Rimouski, Que. 11.6 10.6

Kelowna, B.C. 11.6 10.8

Victoria 11.6 11

Chicoutimi, Que. 11.5 10.6

Joliette, Que. 11.5 10.7

Sherbrooke, Que. 11.4 10.3

Surrey, B.C. 11.4 11

Toronto 11.3 10.7

Regina 11.3

Mississauga/Bramptop/Burlington, Ont. 11.2

Hull/Aylmer, Que. 11.1

Saskatoon 11.1

Nanaimo, B.C. 11

Moncton, N.B. 10.9

Markham/Richmond Hill, Ont. 10.9

Kitchener/Waterloo, Ont. 10.8 10.2

Chilliwack, B.C. 10.8 10.3

St. John’s, Nfld. 10.7

St. Catharines/Niagara, Ont. 10.7

Calgary 10.7 10.4

Burnaby/Coquitlam/New Westminster, B.C. 10.7 10.2

Winnipeg 10.6 9.9

Ottawa 10.5 10

Edmonton 10.5 10.2

Témiscaming, Que. 10.4 9.6

Owen Sound, Ont. 10.4 9.6

Lethbridge, Alta. 10.4 10.1

Red Deer, Alta. 10.4

Prince Edward Island 10.3

Hamilton 10.3

Peterborough, Ont. 10.2

London, Ont. 10.2

Kingston, Ont. 10.1

Windsor/Sarnia, Ont. 10

Kamloops, B.C. 9.9

Halifax/Dartmouth 9.8

Brantford, Ont. 9.8

Yarmouth/Digby, N.S. 9.6

Saint John, N.B. 9.6

Fredericton 9.6

Thunder Bay, Ont. 9.6

North Bay/Huntsville, Ont. 9.5

Prince George, B.C. 9.5

Sudbury, Ont. 9.1

Cape Breton, N.S. 8.4

10.4 10.8

10.5

10.5

10.6 9.7 10.5

9.7

10

9.7

9

9.8

9.6

9.4

9.4 9.2

9.5

8.8 9.1

8.5

8.7

8.7

8.4

8.3

6.8

13.4

13.4 12.6 12.8

12.7

12.5

12.9

12.8

12.6

12.5 12.2 12.1

12.3

12.3

12.3

11.7

11.7 12.1

11.5

11.6 11.6

11.5

11.9

11.3

11.4 11.2

11.5

11.3 11

11.3 11.2 11

10.9 11.2 11.1

10.7

10.9

11.6

10.9

10.7 11

10.7

10.7 10.2

10.7

10.5

10.6

10.3

10.7

10.3 10.2 11 9.9 9.8

18.1

18

18.9 18.1

17.7

19.4

17.9 18

17.2 18.1

19.6

19.2

17.2

17.1

18.1

18.8

18.9

18.7

18.8

17.2 18.8

18.7 18.6

18.4 18.1 18.6

17.7

17.9

18.8

18.4 18.1

18.4 18.6 16.8

17.9

18.2

18.3

17.9

17.9

17.7

17.9 17.6

17.5

17.9

17.6 17.5

17.8

17.4

17.5

17.1

17.2

17.3 17

16.7

15.8

15.2

17.4

15.7

15.5

17.1

15.3

15.6

15.2

15.8

17.6

17.5

14.8

14.9

15.7 17

16.9

16.4 17

15.2

16.6

17.1

16.2 16.6

15.9

16.9

15.6 16

17.1

16.3 16

16.4

16.6

14.7 16 16.6

16.7

15.3

15.9

15.9

15.6

15.6

15.3

16.2

15.4

15.5

15.6

15.3

15.3

15.2 15

15.4 15

14.3

20

20.1

20.2

19.8

19.5

21.3 20.1

20.3

19.1

20.2

21.6

20.5

19.3

19.3 20.2

20.4

20.6

20.8

20.3

19 20.8 20.2

20.7

20 19.9 20.1

19.5

19.6 20.2 20.2

19.8 20 20.2

18.9

19.6

19.7

19.7 20.2 19.6

19.3

19.8

19.4

19.4

19.5

19.4

19.2

19.9

19.2

19.5 18.8

19.2 19.4

18.9

18.9