The City Health Monitor report was released for the first time by the Conference Board of Canada and the CBC News highlighted some of the findings. According to the report, 10 Canadian cities were ranked for their health both physical and socio-economic aspects based on 4 categories: Life satisfaction, population health, healthy lifestyle, and finally access to health-care services. The article did not define health but health usually refers to the state in which an individual is free from illnesses. An individual’s state of well-being can be determined in terms of mental health, physical health, or emotional health. It is evident that all the categories considered by the Conference Board of Canada (2016) can be used in the measurement in health.
Life satisfaction refers to an individual’s contentment of life regarding both long-term and short-term achievements. High levels of health depicts a higher level of life satisfaction. For instance, people from poorer areas might not find enough resources to allocate producing health, therefore producing a lower life satisfaction. In contrary, higher wage rates would mean a higher amount of money and time that an individual can spend on leisure which would increase an individual’s overall life satisfaction. In addition, lower wage rates could create more emotional stress and even depression, leading a lower life satisfaction. The report considered life satisfaction as a factor for measuring health thinking that an individual can evaluate his life satisfaction and well-being accurately in terms of health.
Population health refers to the recorded general health of a certain population. This factor can be measured by the data from healthcare institutions in the cities. It was also appropriate to use this factor in determining the health of the cities since statistics from healthcare institutions could be used to determine the prevalence of various diseases among the individuals. This could help to determine the cities that are most prevalent to certain diseases. Moreover, population’s overall health is consistent with their lifestyle and access to health-care services which also been used as measurement factors in the report.
The Board was also right to use healthy lifestyle as a factor to measure health. Healthy lifestyle, which is usually associated with an individual’s diet and level of exercise, helps to improve the health and well-being of individuals. A clear assessment of these factors could help to determine the health status of a city. Not having enough resources for exercising, or healthy food might increase the consumption of unhealthy food. Also individuals with lower income levels might face more stress and therefore would be more prone to use tobacco products and alcohol in order to cope with this stress. These factors determine individuals’ lifestyle and hence their healthiness.
Access to healthcare services was also an important factor measuring health. The health of individuals depend on their ability to access healthcare services. Individuals could address any concerns regarding their health with easy accessibility to healthcare services. More healthcare institutions would mean more available resources for people to use to improve their health. That being said, areas that have limited access to healthcare services could be associated with poor health. The wage rate in the cities could also affect the availability of healthcare services. A public policy might increase the access to healthcare and therefore the overall health of population. If the prices of health care are affordable, more people could access to healthcare.
In conclusion, the four factors that the Board used for measurements are actually depend each other and cannot be considered separate. Future studies should also consider the effect of self-report biases because individuals might have different opinions on what it means to have an excellent health. Also different levels of education among individuals should be considered since different levels of education might affect how people see themselves in terms of healthiness.