Newest health report says life expectancy gap still exists

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 11:40am


July 18, 2016. The latest annual report from Alberta Health on life expectancy identifies as a continued challenge the existing continuing gap in the health status of Indigenous people compared with that of non-Indigenous people. “In comparison to Alberta’s total population, the First Nations population experiences an infant mortality rate that is more than one and a half times higher, a suicide rate that is five to seven times higher, a higher rate of diabetes, and significantly higher rates of arthritis, asthma, heart disease, and high blood pressure,” according to the report. The provincial results mirror the national results, “which indicate the health of Indigenous peoples is much worse than for Canadians as a whole.” The report says a “broad range of factors” must be taken into consideration in order to improve the health status of Indigenous people, including health services, personal health practices and coping skills, and social factors such as housing and education. “If you are worrying about having your basic needs met, your health impacts, educational impacts and so forth are far more precarious,” said Health Minister Sarah Hoffman. She said she found the new statistics to represent a “troubling situation” in Alberta.