Health Status of Aboriginal people in Ontario
Health Careers and Informatics
November 1st, 2012
The majority of health issues that the Aboriginal community faces are related directly and indirectly to social, economic, cultural and political areas. Infrastructure, housing, employment, income, environmental and education are connected to the individual and community based effects of health. The health status of aboriginals in Ontario is very poor. There are a lot of health care needs for aboriginals that live in Northwest Ontario, also because the population is so high. The first nations population is the largest (958,000) Followed by the Metis (266,000) and the Inuit (51,000). Every year the population of aboriginals increases. The health status, diseases and life style of these people should be monitored and taken care of to an extent. Aboriginal population is relatively young in Ontario. The birth rate is two times the rate of the Canadian population, which is very high. Aboriginals seem to rank lower education, have higher rates of unemployment, along with higher rates of smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, which can lead to needing a lot of health care. (Dr. Chandrakant P. Shah. 2005, page. 3)
Some may argue that the health issues are genetic, but health means more than the absence of disease. A look at the history of colonization and the creation of the reservation system that forced removal of children to far away communities and institutions, relocation to unfamiliar lands and tortured relations caused suffering from inequality. This directly affected the health and well being of the Aboriginal communities.
The aboriginal population experiences a lot of infectious diseases. The First Nations in Ontario believe that it is because they don’t receive the same level of health care services as the rest of the population. The self-rated health of an aboriginal child living in a non-reserve area is lower than Canadian children. The off reserve population suffers in lower levels of education, and low level of household income. They also have higher rates of smoking compared to non-aboriginals. 63% of aboriginals were diagnosed as being overweight compared to 39% of Canadians from ages 18-34.Rates of mumps, rubella, and pertussis were three times higher than the overall Canadian rate. It was also found out that tuberculosis is nine times higher with the first nations community in Ontario compared to Canadian population. (Dr. Chandrakant P. Shah. 2005, page. 5)
Other causes of health issues include changing diets, limited access to resources, limited work options and social stressors. These are all part of the complex picture in regards to the Aboriginal population group and disease that affects them. Higher rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes are popular in aboriginal peoples. Type 2 diabetes affects First Nations and Métis people three to five times more than the general Northern Ontario population. Tuberculosis is also a very common health concern. The First Nations/Inuit tuberculosis rates are 10 times higher than for other people living in northern Ontario. Another big health concern throughout the aboriginal people is suicide. The aboriginal people experience higher rates of suicide, especially among Aboriginal youth. The suicide rate of First Nations youth is five to six times higher when compared to non-aboriginals. Suicide is the single greatest cause of injury-related deaths for Aboriginal people. Ontario has the largest amount of aboriginal population in Canada, which is why they should be receiving better health care. The aboriginal population in Ontario has a very poor health care status compared to non-aboriginal population. In order to reduce the gap between the health status of aboriginals and non-aboriginals, big changes will have to be made to the culturally sensitive public polices. (Dr. Chandrakant P....
References: Dr. Chandrakant P. Shah. (July 29, 2005). Health Status Report of Aboriginal People in Ontario. In . Retrieved July 29, 2005, from http://www.queensu.ca/sgs/exphor/themes/ethics/readings/Health-Status-Report.pdf.
Noelle Spotton (2001) A profile of aboriginal peoples in Ontario
Retrieved November 22, 2012 from
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