Friday, June 17, 2011

June 16, 2011


The first report by the chief provincial public health officer on the health status of Manitobans has been tabled in the legislature and is now publicly available.
Priorities for Prevention:  Everyone, Every Place, Every Dayemphasizes the prevention of illness and injury as the most promising way to improve the health of Manitobans, reduce inequalities of health among Manitobans, and sustain the programs and services that contribute to health and well-being.
The report stresses that every Manitoban has a role to play in their own health and the health of others.  It is a matter of concern for all levels of government and their departments, private industry and non-government organizations, not just health departments and the health-care system.
The report considers many health outcomes and leading causes of illness, injury and death; risk factors and behaviours that influence health; other determinants of health such as education and income levels; and the physical and social environments of the places where people live, work and play that affect health.
The five main sections describe the health status of the general population; pregnancy and the newborn; children and youth; adults; and seniors.
Conclusions include:
  • Most of the causes of premature deaths, injuries and illness can be prevented or delayed.
  • Health status is associated with many determinants of health; for most measures, health status is worse for Manitobans who are Aboriginal, live in low-income areas and live in the north.
  • Prevention is a shared responsibility and opportunity for all Manitobans, and can be best achieved by a balance of improved living environments and personal behaviours.
The recommendations are intended to build on initiatives and strategies already underway by governments, by health and other sectors, private industry and other non-government organizations, and by families and communities. 
The recommendations are organized into five categories:
  • recommended health goals for all of government;
  • recommended priorities for prevention strategies regarding health outcomes, health-related behaviours and activities, and the determinants of health and settings of everyday living;
  • recommended approaches for prevention strategies;
  • recommended structures and other elements to co-ordinate, develop, implement and evaluate prevention strategies; and
  • recommended actions to enhance the capacity of the health system to implement prevention strategies.
The recommended approaches for all prevention strategies are:
  • major decisions, policies, legislation and other actions should consider their impact on health and health inequalities;
  • all citizens and organizations should be engaged in promoting health;
  • the important role of families and local communities should be recognized and supported;
  • to promote healthy living, the social determinants of health should be distributed more equitably and there is a need to create healthier settings and places of everyday life; and
  • the capacity of the health system to implement prevention programs and services should be strengthened.
The information contained in the report is intended to encourage action to improve health for all Manitobans, particularly for those that have been disadvantaged.
The chief provincial public health officer is required under the Public Health Act to report on the health status of Manitobans at least every five years.  The full report can be viewed online at  Comments on the report can be submitted to
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