Wednesday, August 10, 2011

[EQ] Understanding and Improving Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health in Canada

Understanding and Improving Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health in Canada

Health Council Canada, 2011

Available online PDF [52p.] at:


“……The problems facing Aboriginal Peoples need little introduction. The information on disparities (opposite) is a stark reminder that many First Nations, Inuit, and Métisa people have significantly worse health and more challenging living conditions than the larger Canadian population.

This cycle must be broken. In 2010, the Health Council of Canada began a multi-year project to learn more about the crisis in Aboriginal health, with a focus on programs or initiatives that have the potential to reduce unacceptable health disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

In the first year of this work, we set out to learn about the health care of expectant mothers and children from the prenatal stage to age six. It’s well documented that better lifelong physical, mental, and spiritual health begins in childhood; this is the place to start.1

The Aboriginal population in Canada currently has a much younger demographic than the non-Aboriginal population,2 and a higher birth rate.3 In the last few years, a number of leading organizations have urged governments to focus their attention on this vulnerable population.



Aboriginal disparities at a glance:

While there is diversity among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations, there are significant overall health and economic disparities between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadian population:

• Aboriginal people are much more likely to live in poor health and die prematurely.

• Aboriginal people have a higher burden of chronic conditions and of infectious disease.

• Aboriginal children are more likely to die in the first year of life.

• Aboriginal people are more likely to live in poverty, which has a domino effect on other aspects of their lives.
  They are more likely to go hungry, to suffer from poor nutrition and obesity, and to live in overcrowded, substandard housing.

• Aboriginal people are less likely to graduate from high school, and more likely to be unemployed………



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