The Healthy Populations domain is mainly concerned with measuring health status, lifestyle behaviours, and health care system factors. The components of health status—personal wellbeing, life expectancy, physical health conditions, functional health, and mental health—measure different aspects of health outcomes. The other components—lifestyle and behaviour, health care, and public health—measure factors that affect our health and are often directly affected by public policy and health initiatives. These components measure external factors that affect the health status of people and communities.
Wellbeing can be assessed at both the individual and societal level. At the individual (personal) level, wellbeing and quality-of life are closely associated, and are influenced by a number of factors including relationships (family and friends), health, sense of community, and work opportunities and conditions.
Chronic conditions related to lifestyle and diet are among the most widespread of personal risks to Canadians’ physical health.
Canadians have made consistent gains in life expectancy over the past decades. On average, a Canadian born in 2009 could expect to live to 81.1 years, one of the longest life expectancies of any nation in the world.
An individual’s lifestyle and behaviour clearly affects his or her health. Good dietary practices, regular physical activity, and refraining from smoking are all linked to better health.
Mental health is a crucial aspect of a population’s health status, with depression and other mental illnesses accounting for significant disease burden.
Functional measures of health refer to how well one could carry out the necessary tasks of daily life. The Health Utility Index (HUI) identifies how well people are able to carry out tasks based on their performance in eight key areas: vision, hearing, speech, mobility (ability to get around), dexterity (use of hands and fingers), emotion, cognition (memory and thinking), and pain and discomfort.
Public health systems are important for monitoring, regulating and promting the health of a population. A measure of the public health system’s ability to prevent disease is indicated by immunization rates.
Canadians have indicated repeatedly that they place great value on a universal, publicly funded, and publicly administered healthcare system. Data from the CCHS has shown that Canadians report a high level of satisfaction with health care services provided to them.