Priority Health Equity Indicators for BC

Overall, British Columbians are among the healthiest people in the world yet good health is not evenly distributed across our province.  We know that about 75% of our overall health is determined by social factors such as working or living conditions, income, and educational opportunities. These factors affect the rates of chronic disease and injury, contributing to health inequity or unfair differences in health and wellbeing for people of different groups.  Research has shown that the lower a person’s socio-economic position, the higher his or her risk of poor health. Early adversity may be overcome by later improvements in social circumstances, however early experiences can leave a person more vulnerable to poor health later in life.  Health inequities have significant social and economic costs to individuals and to society as a whole.

The direct health system costs associated with providing care to a sicker and more disadvantaged population are substantial. These costs are dwarfed by the indirect costs of health inequities, such as lost productivity, lost tax revenue, absenteeism, family leave, and disability or premature death.

We are putting forward a snapshot of some current health inequities in BC and hoping to spark conversation about the value of this kind of information and the information needed to inform policy and practice.  Through a consensus process 52 equity indicators were identified. This report analyzes data for 16 of the 52 equity-related indicators across various population groups and sociodemographic and geographic dimensions. Collectively, this data begins to show patterns of inequity across the lifecourse, from early childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. As these patterns begin to emerge over time, we can start to understand which groups of people are being left behind, even
as the average British Columbian continues to live alonger and healthier life.

As you read this report, I hope you will consider:

„ How you could use these findings in your work?
„„ What more is needed to monitor trends on health inequity?
„„ What would be helpful in creating action on promoting health equity?

Please send us your thoughts, ideas andperspectives on the questions we have posed. You
can write to us directly at

Together, we all play a role in creating the right conditions and opportunities to support individuals and populations to reach their full potential for health.
Lydia Drasic
Executive Director, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Operations and Chronic Disease Prevention, BCCDC and Provincial Health Services Authority

TO view the full report visit:

Priority health equity indicators for BC