Canada is one of the healthiest countries in the world, according to the United Nations. In fact, the 2008 Human Development Index for Canada is 0.967, ranking third out of 177 countries. This shows a lot about the well-being of people living in the country.
There’s no doubt that Canada is a healthy country, but which are the top cities when it comes to health? The Best Health magazine used data from Environment Canada, Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and other database to determine which Canadian city is the healthiest. The results are as follows:
Vancouver is the city with the least number of obesity cases, the best community care, and the lowest heavy drinking rates. In addition, this city is commended for having a tight smoking ban as well as having the highest physician-population ratio (1:100,000). It also boasts the availability of healthy foods. Vancouver also consistently makes the list of the best cities in terms of livability by such organizations as the Mercer Quality of Life Survey and The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Victoria is a close runner-up. The Garden City ranks first in terms of air quality and nutrition. It also tops the active lifestyle category. According to one resident, "It’s very easy to get around in Victoria… It’s nice not to have to worry about smog days." Victoria also has the second longest life expectancy and the second-lowest level of overweight people. It also performs well in other categories like community care, high numbers of mammogram machines, and low levels of heavy drinking.
Third place goes to Calgary, one of the country’s fastest growing urban centers. Unlike many other emerging cities, Calgarians feel so good about themselves. This is perhaps due to their level of fitness. Calgary is second in terms of health and active lifestyle. What’s more, it is the city with least number of diabetic people and those with high blood pressure. Along with Vancouver, Calgary has the strictest smoking ban in Canada. It also ranks fifth in the life expectancy category.
The fourth spot goes to Canada’s cultural capital, Edmonton. It ranks sixth for over one-third of all the categories. These include number of mammogram machines, self-rated health, and life expectancy. Moreover, the city earns top-five finishes in terms of community care and smoking ban.
The Canadian capital comes in strong in such healthy city categories as healthy blood pressure, leisure time spent active, strict smoking ban, and low levels of heavy drinking. Ottawa residents eat more fruits and vegetables compared to their counterparts in other city. Ottawa is behind only to Victoria and Montreal in this category.
While the results of The Best Health magazine aren’t scientific, they provide an interesting picture of the vitality of Canadian cities. By examining the health components of a flourishing city, policymakers as well as the public can provide a master plan for health programs across the country.