Opportunity for All: The Path to Health Equity (highlights)
Do we ALL have the same opportunity for health? The answer is no.
To help paint a clearer picture of health in the City of Greater Sudbury we looked at health outcomes (such as how long we live, our risk of injury) and their relationship with our social and economic environments.
At the Sudbury & District Health Unit, we work hard to understand health and what keeps us healthy. We know that our health is influenced by many factors—genetics, individual lifestyles and behaviours, and the physical, social, and economic environments in which we live. To help paint a clearer picture of health in the City of Greater Sudbury we looked at health outcomes (such as how long we live, our risk of injury) and their relationship with our social and economic environments. As part of a recent analysis of local health data we asked: Do we ALL have the same opportunity for health? The answer is no. Read on to learn more or click here for full report.
Areas across the City of Greater Sudbury were grouped according to their social and economic characteristics (e.g. household income, employment, education) and classified as most or least deprived. We then looked at health outcomes (e.g. self-rated health, emergency department visits, obesity) experienced by residents in these areas. We asked whether there were better or worse health outcomes depending on whether an area was worse or better off socially and economically (i.e. most or least deprived).
Our analysis revealed significant differences in 15 health outcomes when we compared most and least deprived areas across the City of Greater Sudbury.
Among the differences, residents of the City of Greater Sudbury’s most deprived areas were found to have higher rates of:
- emergency department visits due to all causes, 1.7 times higher
- infant mortality (the percentage of infants who die before age 1),
2.4 times higher
- premature mortality (the percentage of residents who die
before age 75), 1.9 times higher
- obesity, 2.0 times higher
Complete descriptions of the methods, results, and interpretation of results can be found in the full report, Opportunity for All: The Path to Health Equity.
What do these results mean?
Our analysis revealed a significant relationship between the social and economic conditions where Greater Sudbury residents live, and 15 important health outcomes. The differences in health that we see between residents of most and least deprived areas can be viewed as lost opportunities for health. For example, if everyone in the City of Greater Sudbury had the same opportunities for health as those living in its least deprived areas, 9 706 more people in the City would rate their health as excellent or very good.
More opportunities for health!
If everyone in the City of Greater Sudbury had the same opportunities for health as those living in its least deprived areas, each year in the City there would be:
- 14 077 fewer emergency department visits for all causes
- 1 less infant who dies before age 1
- 131 fewer residents who die before age 75
- 11 231 fewer people who are obese
Why is this information important?
You can start thinking, talking, and asking your own questions. It is startling to see that there are real health differences in Sudbury based on an area’s social and economic characteristics. It can motivate you to ask questions such as, “Are these differences acceptable?” “Why do they exist?” and “What can I do to make a difference?” The good news is that the more we talk about health equity, the less hidden it is and the more we can figure out our own role in making things better.
We know that these differences in health are NOT inevitable! This local data demonstrates that not all residents of the City of Greater Sudbury have the same opportunities for health. It also highlights that we have examples of working together to “buffer” and reduce health inequities. The Sudbury & District Health Unit will use this information to guide activities to serve residents and support greater opportunities for health across our community. With informed and creative action, no one in our community needs to be at risk of poor health solely due to their social and economic environments. Together we can build a community in which there is Opportunity for All.
Explore our website to:
READ the complete report Opportunity for All: The Path to Health Equity
LEARN more about the conditions that impact Opportunity for All
FIND OUT about existing Health Unit and community efforts to create Opportunity for All
Follow us on twitter! @SD_PublicHealth and @equitysdhu
This document uses the Deprivation Index developed by Québec researchers to measure the social and economic status of areas of Sudbury. As such, the terms “most deprived” and “least deprived” are used to label areas. These terms do not adequately capture the resilience, strengths, and opportunities for health that also exist across the City of Greater Sudbury. Rather, they are derived from the Index used in the analysis.
This item was last modified on April 19, 2016