From Asthma to Obesity, These Are the 10 Unhealthiest Regions in Canada

If you want to live a long and healthy life, you may want to put more consideration into the place you call home.

While some regions of Canada – like Vancouver, with its active outdoor lifestyle – are extremely healthy, others face serious health problems. When it comes to things like rates of obesity and diabetes, or smoking rates, Canada is full of extremes.

A new study by The 10 and 3 set out to find the least healthiest regions in the country – not a simple undertaking. They divided the country into StatsCan’s 117 health regions and examined seven key factors from StatsCan’s 2013 Health Profile. These include rate of asthma, diabetes and cancer; access to medical doctors; daily smoking rate; rate of overweight residents; and perceived mental health.

Each region was then ranked according to a composite health score. This was calculated by ranking the region within each of the seven health indicators first, then taking the average ranking across the indicators.

The researchers note that – like other studies that use StatsCan’s health data – there can be “significant holes” in what some provinces collect. As a result, they can include only 101 of the country’s 117 health regions in their ranking, which meanst a few isolated areas in Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia, as well as most of Manitoba, have been left out.

Perhaps the most notable finding was that there was a glaringly obvious urban-rural divide when it comes to Canadians’ health status. As you’ll clearly see below, the 10 sickest regions are located overwhelmingly in rural and isolated areas of Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that lifestyle plays a critical role in this divide. Due to their density, people are more physically active in urban areas and have lower rates of smoking, less obesity, and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes compared to their rural counterparts.

The improved health status of those who live in urban areas is also associated with higher income and education levels. The two factors affect everything from access to healthy foods, lower smoking and drinking rates, and access and use of quality healthcare and disease screening.

You can click here to check out the full interactive map that will allow you to see all 101 regions and their breakdown.

Here are the top ten unhealthiest regions in Canada:

Rank (out of 101) Health Region
101 Prince Albert Parkland Region (SK)
100 Région de la Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine (QC)
99 Timiskaming (ON)
98 Porcupine (Timmins) Health Unit (ON)
97 Campbellton Area (NB)
96 Région de la Côte-Nord (QC)
95 Région du Nord-du-Québec (QC)
94 Eastern Ontario Health Unit (ON)
93 Prairie North Region (SK)
92 Région de Lanaudière (QC)