I took a quick look at the 2013 health indicators recently and found some of them kind of interesting. If you want oodles of statistics on regional health and determinants of health, you can use the NB Health Council data (http://www.nbhc.ca/).
All of the data below is for the population 12 years and older. Some of these stats can be segmented by age groups.
Perceived health, very good or excellent: Saint John is the only New Brunswick region that has close to the average here with 58.8% of the population perceiving their health as very good or excellent compared to Canada ta 59.4%. Fredericton used to be the NB leader in this area but is now behind Saint John at 55.3%.
Life satisfaction, good to excellent: Moncton has the highest rating here with 93.5% of residents agreeing to this up 1.7 percentage points since 2008. Saint John and Miramichi are similar. Edmundston, once again, is at the bottom with 84.8% agreeing to this down 8.9 percentage points since 2008.
Perceived life stress: Edmundston is at the top of the list with 27.9% saying they have considerable life stress. At the bottom is Bathurst – with only 15% having life stress. Miramichi is near bottom 16.3% but Campbellton – just up the road has 23.4 percent of its residents with considerable life stress up 5.1 percentage points since 2008.
Perceived mental health: Edmundston is also an outlier here with only 55.7% saying they have very good or excellent perceived mental health compared to 71.1% across Canada and 69.2% in Moncton, 67.9% in Miramichi. There was a 19.5 percentage point drop for Edmundston in this area since 2008.
Sense of belonging to local community: Miramichiers by far had the highest percentage here with 86.9% having a strong sense of belonging compared to only 65.9% across Canada. Saint John was second at 77.1%. Moncton was last in New Brunswick with only 66.3% having a strong sense of belonging down 7.1 percentage points since 2008. This is likely tied to the significant population boost since 2008 – newcomers need to get familiar and get into local networks. Fredericton was second last among the regions in New Brunswick – likely for the same reason.
Physical activity during leisure-time: Saint Johners are the most active New Brunswickers with 55.2% saying they are moderately active or active during leisure time compared to 43.8% in the Miramichi. Frederictonians are getting more lazy – they used to be the most active. but now they are second lowest with only 45.7 percentage saying they are moderately active or active during leisure time. All New Brunswick is below the national level for activity and the spread is getting worse. The percentage point gap between NB and Canada had been getting better and was down to 1.2 percentage points in 2012 but it spiked back up to 5.6 percentage points in 2013.
High blood pressure: NB have considerably more people with high blood pressure (23 per 100 compared to 17.7 per 100 across Canada). Campbellton and Fredericton are at the top of the list. More than one in four persons 12+ in Freddy have high blood pressure. Edmundston has the lowest percentage with high blood pressure in the province (17.9 per 100).
Diabetes: New Brunswick has slightly more folks with diabetes compared to the country as a whole (7.6 per 100 compared to 6.6 per 100). Miramichi, however is a big outlier with 12.7 per 100 having diabetes. Edmundston has the lowest percentage with diabetes in the province (six per 100).
Body mass index, overweight or obese: Miramichi has the highest percentage of its population overweight or obese (68.7%). New Brunswick, in general, is considerably more overweight than the country as a whole (64.3% versus 53.6%). Edmundston has the lowest percentage that are overweight or obese in the province (58.9%).
What can we say about this data overall? Edmundstonians are the most honest people in New Brunswick. For all the self-perception health statistics (those that are self-rated), Edmunstonians rated themselves brutally honest (at or near the bottom of the pack). For the hard statistics (exercise, blood pressure, etc.) they scored as the most healthy.
Interesting. Freddy seems to be losing a bit its status as a healthy place. Its residents are reporting lower levels of perceived health, higher rates of overweight/obesity, less exercise, etc. Even perceived mental health, very good or excellent ratings in Freddy have dropped from the low 70s in the middle of last decade to 67.5 in 2013.
This sense of belonging statistic is another interesting one. It seems like those communities that are not growing their population tend to have the highest sense of belonging. Bathurst, Miramichi and Edmundston all have significant increases in the percentage of folks with a good sense of belonging to the local community over the past five years. Miramichi is over the top with 87% having a strong sense of belonging even as the economy struggles and the population declines.
You have to be careful with any surveys that are self-perception. It may be that those living in the Republic of Madawaska are more self-critical for cultural and historical reasons. In general, Newfoundlanders are at the bottom of the pack in terms of hard health indicators and at or near the top for self-perceived health.