Richmond scored the highest in the country for both a decline in avoidable mortality rate from preventable causes and avoidable mortality from treatable cases, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
"I think there are multiple reasons for Richmond doing so well," said Dr. James Lu, Richmond medical health officer. "When we think of Richmond we think of such factors as healthy lifestyles, physical activity levels and the a relatively low smoking rates."
CIHI released its findings on the weekend, and its annual health indicators gives a snapshot about the health system and the health of the population in Canada's health regions, provinces and territories.
Avoidable mortality rate from preventable causes is defined by CIHI as deaths before the age of 75 that could have potentially been avoided through proper prevention and access to effective health services such as injuries, cancer or heart disease. Lu attributes some of that to our high immigration rates.
"One half or more of Richmond's population is immigrants," said Lu. "By and large, to immigrate to Canada you must have the means, education and be of good health.
"That's because Canada assesses the health of prospective immigrants to ensure they have no pre-existing medical conditions."
Lu went on to say that our immunization rates are the highest in the province.
"Those statistics tell me that Richmond is a community which values prevention," he added.
Meantime, avoidable mortality from treatable cases is characterized as deaths before the age of 75 that could have potentially been avoided through proper prevention and access to effective health services.
"As far as our decline in avoidable mortality from treatable cases, I think it can be attributed to access to health literacy, care and good coordination of care," Lu said. "I think it's also because people in Richmond probably understand and follow through with their treatment regime."
Although Lu said Richmond is seen as a large urban metropolis, we still "have a smaller community feel, which translates to better coordination of health care professionals.
"We can still improve in some areas but I think the report is encouraging."
For the full report, visit CIHI at www.cihi.ca.