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Date: January 10, 2012

UVic Researchers Map Wellness In BC

Second edition, Atlas of Wellness reflects food security, nutrition, chronic illness

Residents of Richmond claim to have the best food security in the province while those in the Okanagan or Central Vancouver Island are more likely to suffer from chronic illness, and only 68 per cent of youth in school indicate that they eat an evening meal with a parent four or more times a week. These are just some of the results determined by University of Victoria researchers in the second edition of the British Columbia Atlas of Wellness.

Food security, nutrition, and being free of chronic conditions are the indicators of healthy living examined by the researchers in the latest edition of the Atlas, which built on the goals of the first 2007 edition of mapping health and wellness in BC.

Researchers used 160 indicators to plot variations in health and wellness geographically throughout the province. Key indicators include: smoke-free environments, physical activity, healthy pregnancies and births. A broader reflection on wellness in the second edition includes food security and nutrition, and being free of chronic conditions.

“Food security is a growing issue,” says Dr. Peter Keller, one of the authors and dean of UVic’s Faculty of Social Sciences. “Our research revealed that residents in Richmond claim to have the best food security in BC, and that four out of five BC respondents avoid foods because of content reasons.”

Another key indicator of health is being free of chronic conditions such as back problems, diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure.

“Based on 10 chronic conditions, residents in Vancouver, Richmond and North Shore/Coast Garibaldi had the best results for chronic-free conditions,” says Dr. Les Foster, co-author of Atlas. “On the other extreme, Okanagan, Kootenay Boundary, Central Vancouver Island, and East Kootenay were the least chronic-free regions.”

More than 400 maps are included in the second edition and over half of these are new, reflecting interests expressed by users of the first edition. Atlas was developed initially in response to the BC government’s goal of making BC the healthiest jurisdiction in Canada.

Access the Atlas online at www.geog.uvic.ca/wellness.
 

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Media contacts:

Dr. Les Foster (Department of Geography and School of Child and Youth Care) at 250-386-5933 or lfoster@uvic.ca
Dr. Aleck Ostry (Department of Geography) at 250-721-7336 or ostry@uvic.ca
Anne MacLaurin (Social Sciences) at 250-217-4259 or sosccomm@uvic.ca

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