British Columbians lead the way in healthy living VICTORIA – British Columbians continue to live long and healthy lives, according to the 2010 Vital Statistics Annual Report from the Ministry of Health. Life expectancy in B.C. remains the highest in Canada at 81.7 years for 2006-10, up from 81.4 for 2005-09. B.C.’s population also grew naturally by 13,647 in 2010, or at rate of 2.8 per thousand. The report states cancer death rates in B.C. are falling, supporting the Province’s leadership in cancer care, prevention and treatment resulting in some of the best cancer outcomes in the world. Heart disease mortality rates are lower and death rates from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis have dropped to 1994 levels. However, mortality rates for chronic diseases like diabetes have increased slightly from 2009. This further supports the need for the Province’s comprehensive Healthy Families BC strategy, which helps families make the healthy choice the easy choice. At 55, the number of HIV deaths in B.C. in 2010 is down from 63 in 2009, and the lowest since 1995. This lower figure can be attributed to 30 years of leading-edge research along with community and health system efforts, which have helped turn HIV/AIDS from what was once a deadly epidemic into a chronic but manageable condition. B.C. is the only province in Canada that is demonstrating a consistent decline in HIV. The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, under the leadership of Dr. Julio Montaner, plays a crucial role in research and treatment, positioning B.C. as a world leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The vital statistics document also found that just more than half the 2010 births in British Columbia were from mothers aged 30-39. In recent decades there has also been a gradual increase in multiple birth rates in B.C., rising from 1.9 per cent of all live births in 1986 to 3.2 per cent in 2010. The 139th edition of the Vital Statistics Annual Report contains information collected from registrations of births, deaths, and marriages that happened in 2010. Information from the report is used for various aspects of health planning, research and education. Quotes: Minister of Health Michael de Jong – “This report demonstrates the importance of health prevention and awareness policies and how many British Columbians can lead long and healthy lives. We will continue to help and encourage people to move forward on this path, which builds healthy families and communities and takes the financial strain off the health-care system.” Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall – “It’s very encouraging to see lower mortality rates for cancer and heart disease in British Columbia. It’s my hope that even more people will be able to make choices that will reduce the risk factors for chronic disease, such as more exercise and eating reasonably well.” Learn More: The 2010 Vital Statistics Annual report can be found at: www.vs.gov.bc.ca/stats/annual/2010.