Ethnic and regional differences in prevalence and correlates of chronic diseases and risk factors in northern Canada

Prev Chronic Dis. 2010 Jan;7(1):A13. Epub 2009 Dec 15.


Introduction: We investigated ethnic and geographic variations in major chronic diseases and risk factors in northern Canada, an area that is undergoing rapid changes in its social, cultural, and physical environments.

Methods: Self-report data were obtained from the population-based Canadian Community Health Survey in 2000-2001 and 2005-2006 for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal respondents from the 3 regions of northern Canada: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Crude prevalence estimates, adjusted odds ratios (AORs), and confidence intervals were calculated for multiple chronic diseases and risk factors.

Results: The percentage of Aboriginal respondents who reported having any chronic health condition increased between the 2 cycles of data collection, but did not change for non-Aboriginal respondents. AORs for heart disease, arthritis, and asthma varied by ethnicity or region. AORs for overweight, obesity, daily smoking, regular and binge drinking, and infrequent physical/leisure activity were also substantially different for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal respondents or among respondents from the 3 northern regions.

Conclusion: The changing profile of health in northern Canada suggests a need for action on health policy about the delivery of community-based primary prevention interventions and further research about the determinants of health and health care use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • American Native Continental Ancestry Group
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / ethnology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Heart Diseases / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Young Adult