Fraser Health will work with the District of Hope and its community stakeholders to identify priorities and invest $500,000 to help improve the overall health and well-being of its residents.
This collaboration follows a recent Fraser Health My Health My Community survey. Survey results indicate that Hope ranks strongly in some areas, including over one in five respondents reporting walking or cycling as their mode of commute – higher than the Fraser Health average.
Additionally, over two-thirds of Hope residents reported strong community belonging, the highest in the region. However, the community ranks far lower in a number of health indicators such as life expectancy, chronic disease, mental health, smoking and physical activity when compared to other municipalities in Fraser Health.
“This announcement is a perfect example of how the health authority is working with the community directly to support better health outcomes,” said Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope. “By sitting at the table with the District of Hope, Fraser Health and our various community stakeholders, we can put our heads together to help improve the health of all members of our community.”
“Preventing and addressing chronic disease and improving overall health are vital to establishing a healthy community,” said Fraser Health president and CEO Michael Marchbank. “With that in mind, this funding will allow our community partners to identify opportunities and build on work already underway to make Hope a healthier place to live now and in the future.”
Fraser Health will work with community partners to address community-specific challenges to help improve the overall health of residents. This work aligns with the provincial Healthy Families BC strategy which supports communities and local governments in prioritizing health actions to reduce chronic disease and injury, such as increasing physical activity, tobacco reduction and supporting healthy environments.
“This collaboration with Fraser Health and our community partners gives us an opportunity to pursue solutions that will make Hope a healthier, more vibrant place to live,” said Hope Mayor Wilfried Vicktor. “Change does not happen overnight, but with the support of our community, this work will be a step in the right direction and is something we know will benefit all residents who call Hope home.”
Challenges raised in the survey include an overall life expectancy of 76.5 years for people living in Hope – 7.6 years fewer than Burnaby which has the highest overall life expectancy at 84.2 years.
In addition, chronic disease rates are considerably higher in Hope across a number of conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and depression. Twice as many Hope residents are daily or occasional smokers (22 percent) as the Fraser Health average of 11 percent.