Where you live is one of the indicators of how long you’ll live.
That’s according to new research by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA).
While the good news is that Winnipeggers are living longer, generally, the study found a huge disparity from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, with a shocking 18-year difference between the lowest — socio-economically speaking — neighbourhood and its higher counterparts.
The 400-plus-page Community Health Assessment — which covers a wide range of data on health indicators from early childhood development to disease to nutrition — showed an increase in chronic disease rates continuing to rise, specifically related to heart disease, diabetes, and sexually-transmitted infections like syphilis.
The residents of Point Douglas South, for example, have high rates of many of those illnesses, as well as the lowest average income in the city, according to the report.
That neighbourhood has the dubious distinction of the lowest life expectancy in the city —along with the highest premature mortality rate. Meanwhile, people in neighbouring Inkster West live the longest.
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Men in Point Douglas South had an average life expectancy of 69, while their Inkster West counterparts hit 87. For women, there was a similar disparity, at 73 to 90 years old.
“It has to do with some disparities related to socio-economic factors, access to services, the level of income in a neighbourhood, education, those kinds of things,” the WRHA’s Gina Trinidad told 680 CJOB.
“What we’re really doing is taking a deeper dive into this health assessment and really trying to plan our services in those areas where there’s some disparity — and work with the neighbourhoods to look at more of a health and social services integration to improve the care.”
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Trinidad, the WRHA’s chief health operations officer for continuing care and community health services, said the issue wasn’t just health-related, but rather a multi-sector problem that Winnipeggers will need to work together to tackle.
“Winnipeg is really not that big, but it really speaks to some of our focused efforts in terms of the work we need to do,” she said.
“Our focus is on prevention, healthy habits, and educating the public in general.”
The report said the average life expectancy for Winnipeg adults has increased by about a year since the last assessment for both men and women, with men reaching 79.4 years of age and women 83.4.
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