A health heads-up for FVRD residents

People in the Fraser Valley Regional District are more likely than other B.C. residents to have health problems such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

A health heads-up for FVRD residents

People in the Fraser Valley Regional District are more likely than other B.C. residents to have health problems such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

That was the finding of a report from Fraser Health and the Fraser Valley Regional District which was released on Thursday, titled the Health and Active Living Snapshot of the Fraser Valley.

“While the difference is not overly large, the FVRD does compare somewhat unfavourably to B.C. overall on a number of healthy living indicators,” said the report. “Estimates indicate that the FVRD has a slightly higher level of obesity, along with lower rates of physical activity.”

It notes that less than half of FVRD residents consume the recommended daily minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables.

And, although the smoking rate is slightly lower than the B.C. average, the FVRD (which includes Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Harrison, Hope and Boston Bar) does have the highest smoking rate in the health authority, “resulting in the highest rate of death and hospitalization due to smoking in Fraser Health.”

Patricia Ross, Abbotsford councillor and chair of the FVRD, was surprised to see residents here lagging behind in healthy habits.

“It definitely is a concern, and that’s one of the reasons we’re promoting a healthier lifestyle,” she said. “We’ve got to see what we can do to be healthier.”

The snapshot shows FVRD resident slightly, but consistently behind the B.C. average. For example, the age-standardized prevalence of high blood pressure was 16 per cent in the FVRD, compared with 15 per cent for B.C. overall. The age-standardized mortality rate cancer in the FVRD was 17 per 10,000 population, compared with approximately 15 for B.C. overall.

Approximately 50 per cent of people in the FVRD can be considered overweight or obese, compared with about 45 per cent of B.C. overall.

The health snapshot involved collaboration between community health specialists, Fraser Health data services staff and the FVRD Strategic Planning and Initiatives Department. They used statistics from the B.C. Ministry of Health Services, looking at patient registry information and cause of death figures; and stats taken from the Canadian Community Health Survey by Statistics Canada.

Ross said municipalities have a role to play in promoting good health, with programs and facilities.

“Abbotsford has been aggressive on that,” she said. “The In Motion campaign has been very successful.”

In Motion is a health promotion strategy sponsored by the city, Fraser Health, the Abbotsford Board of Education, UFV and community sponsors. Abbotsford is also one of two B.C. communities participating in SCOPE (Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention through Community Engagement).

Ross said this report is a “snapshot,” and its results suggest the need for more research.

“I can’t help but wonder what other factors are at play, like pollution and air quality,” said Ross. “It’s good to look at the statistics, now we have to figure our why.”

In addition to unhealthy habits, the report also discusses other risk factors:

  • Low income as a related factor to health status, noting “when incomes go down, poor health outcomes and the incidence of chronic disease go up.”
  • An aging population is addressed, noting that in 2010, one in seven people in the FVRD was 65 or older, and by 2030 that will increase to about one in five, resulting in increased demand for health care services, as well as rising costs.
  • The Fraser Valley airshed has unique geography that traps pollutants as they move east, resulting in “significant episodes of poor air quality.” Levels of ozone which stabilized in the 1990s are once again on the rise.

“While poor air quality is not the sole cause of high rates of asthma, it can be a contributing factor for those already at risk,” says the report.

Ross said communities need to support the wellbeing of residents, through walkable neighbourhoods, bike routes, trails, recreation centres, local transit and affordable housing.

Fraser Health has a team of community health specialists who work with communities in the region, and want to bring the issue of planning healthy communities to the fore.

 

To view the entire report, click HERE.

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

(Unsplash.com)
Protecting our elders: It’s up to all of us to look out for them

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read