Media Contacts

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)


Areas of progress and challenge for public health in B.C.

Under Section 66 of the Public Health Act, the provincial health officer has the authority and responsibility to monitor the health of the population in British Columbia, and to provide independent advice on public health issues and the need for legislation, policies and practices respecting those issues.

  • The report, Taking the Pulse of the Population: An Update on the Health of British Columbians, examines the progress made toward 36 performance measures of public health identified in the provincial strategy document, BC’s Guiding Framework for Public Health.
  • Performance measures showing progress include:
    • diabetes incidence;
    • mortality due to preventable causes;
    • overall smoking rates as well as rates of smoking during pregnancy; and
    • hepatitis C incidence.
  • Areas of challenge include:
    • fruit and vegetable consumption;
    • the percentage of students who report they are learning to stay healthy at school;
    • early childhood development, and positive mental health; and
    • hazardous drinking behaviour.
  • Sex-related disparities were found in several measures. For example, males are twice as likely to die of unintentional injuries or due to preventable causes, whereas females are less likely to be physically active and have higher rates of fall-related hospitalizations among those aged 75 years and older.
  • The gap in life expectancy between regional health authorities is widening and is now greater than the gap between males and females. Health-adjusted life expectancy – a measure of both quantity and quality of life years – is highest in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (71.7 years for males and 75.1 years for females) and lowest in Northern Health region (66.7 years for males, 69.0 years for females).