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NEWS RELEASE · 27th May 2010
Ministry of Health Services
An independent national report confirms that British Columbia has the lowest heart attack rate per capita in Canada and leads the country in several other health indicators.

"Health Indicators 2010" released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports that if all provinces had the same heart attack rate as B.C., there would be a potential decline of 22 per cent in the national heart attack rate, generating an estimated savings of about $150 million in hospital costs.

"I am proud of the fact that B.C. has once again been singled out as having the healthiest population in Canada," said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. "I want B.C. to continue to set the bar high for the rest of the country, and recent studies have shown that if we exercise about 30 minutes a day, control our weight, eat reasonably well and don't smoke, we can reduce our risk factors for many common chronic diseases by up to 80 per cent."

That British Columbians have the lowest heart attack rates in Canada is not surprising, according to Dr. Ron Carere, cardiologist, Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital. "British Columbia's investment into cardio- pulmonary research, care, education - and especially prevention programs - is impressive and pays dividends," said Carere. "More and more of our success comes from health authorities and providers working together on provincial strategies that focus on promotion of healthy living and prevention, while providing high-quality care for all."

According to CIHI, for self-reported conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and obesity, B.C. has the lowest rates among the provinces. B.C. is also below the Canadian average for arthritis rate and diabetes rate. For self- reported health behaviours, B.C. had the lowest percentage of smoking and heavy drinking, and the highest percentage of physical activity.

"I am pleased to see that British Columbians continue to lead the country in many of the health indicators discussed in this report, reinforcing the fact that B.C. is the healthiest jurisdiction in Canada," said Healthy Living and Sport Minister Ida Chong. "B.C. has a world- class health-care system that is recognized as being the best in the country from the Conference Board of Canada to the Canadian Cancer Society, and again by this report from CIHI."

CIHI released a report on wait-time comparisons earlier this year, recognizing B.C. as the national leader in exceeding the benchmarks for all priority areas: cancer treatment, cardiac care, sight restoration, and joint replacement.

This is reinforced in today's report which shows B.C. continues to increase the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries, and is significantly above the Canadian average for patients who receive hip fracture surgery within 48 hours of admission.