(Arctic Institute of North America press release via EurekAlert, 3 May 2010) -- OTTAWA, ON - New research shows Inuit populations in the Canadian Arctic have asthma rates far below Aboriginal people in other parts of Canada, especially those in urban centres. The study, published recently in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, says reported cases of asthma in Inuit children was 5%, compared to 12% for all other Aboriginal groups. In Inuit adults, 5.4% of respondents had been diagnosed with asthma, compared to the national average of 11%.
Eric Crighton, lead author of the paper and geography professor at the University of Ottawa, says while it's not unusual to see lower rates of asthma in rural areas, that doesn't always mean rural residents are healthier than their urban cousins. While there is less air pollution in rural regions than in cities, in most other determinants of health – such as income, education, housing and the availability of health care - the North scores extremely low.
"It's my personal opinion ... that it's the limited access to health care that explains this finding. Aboriginal populations are heavily underserved (by health care) all across Canada, but in the North it's a bit more extreme," says Crighton, adding "The biggest determinant of doctor reported asthma is whether you've been to the doctor." The study is based on an analysis of data in Statistics Canada's 2001 Aboriginal People's Survey. A total of 60,500 adults in northern and southern Canada were surveyed. A child and youth questionnaire was administered to 34,495 respondents (parent, grandparents, etc.).
Posted by Amanda Graham – 4 May 2010; 1:43:44 AM – Permalink
Tagged: Arctic, News, Polar research: Reports and findings