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NBHC’s Population Health Snapshot shows more work needed to address the four health priorities

March 10, 2014

Moncton, NB (NBHC) - The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) has released its latest Population Health Snapshot, updated with the most current indicators for the province and each of the seven zones. In addition, this year’s Snapshot provides an analysis of New Brunswick’s status on the four health priorities that the NBHC identified in its third recommendation to the Minister of Health in 2011: lowering high blood pressure rates, achieving healthy weights, improving mental health and preventing injuries.

The Snapshot features summary tables of 42 indicators, with each indicator categorized under either Health Status or Health Determinants (itself subdivided into Health Care, Health Behaviours, Socioeconomic Factors and Physical Environment). For each zone, the Snapshot also highlights “Community Characteristics,” which paints a demographic profile and lists the 10 most common chronic diseases and the 10 most frequent causes of hospital admissions.

The NBHC’s update on the four health priorities include the following:

  • Lowering high blood pressure: Over the past five years, high blood pressure seems to have been slowly and gradually increasing in New Brunswick.
  • Achieving healthy weights: Overall, the prevalence of obesity does not seem to have changed between 2010 and 2012, with New Brunswick showing significantly higher rates (28%) than Canada (18.4%).
  • Improving mental health: New Brunswick has one of the lowest percentages of self-rated mental health as “very good” or “excellent” (ranking 8 out of 10 provinces). 
  • Preventing injuries: New Brunswick demonstrates a slow gradual decrease in the rate of hospitalized injuries, yet continues to show rates higher than the Canadian average.

“This analysis shows that the four priority areas are still relevant in 2014,” says Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC. “Clarity regarding the organization responsible for coordination is often lacking and increased efforts are also required in clearly identifying the targeted service outcomes.  What needs to be improved must be clearly articulated, whether it is to consistently apply a given practice or to reduce wait times for a given service.”

Robichaud also noted that the fact there are trends in the wrong direction for some of the health priorities could raise questions on “efforts of health services providers and managers are empowering, encouraging, or supporting individuals in pursuit of their endeavor to be in charge of their health.”

The NBHC’s Population Health Snapshot seeks to inform citizens, communities, and organizations about their health status with respect to the population in which they live. The information is available on one page and presented in a language that is easy to read and understand. The 2013-14 New Brunswick Population Health Snapshot is available online at: http://www.nbhc.ca/what-we-do/new-brunswick-population-health-snapshot-2013-2014

The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance and population health, and that engages citizens in the improvement of health service quality.

MEDIA CONTACT: Manon Arsenault, 506-869-6728, manon.arsenault@nbhc.ca