The Ontario Health Profile focuses on key public health issues to help increase our understanding of the health status of Ontarians. The interactive web reports use data visualization and interpretative text to complement and support the information in the infographics and data table products.
Antimicrobial resistance is an increasingly serious health issue in Ontario and worldwide. As more antimicrobial drugs become ineffective and fail to treat a growing number of infections, those infections persist and increase the risk of disease, poor health and death. Action is required to ensure the use of antimicrobials only when necessary to safeguard the availability of future treatments for both common and serious infections.
Ontarians trust that health care facilities are clean and safe places that will help them get better when they are sick. Yet some people acquire health care-associated infections (HAIs) that can cause illness, complications or even death. The prevention and control of these infections in hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics is key to keeping patients safe.
Concentrations of air pollutants are higher on and near major roads and highways. As many Ontarians spend time close to major roadways, they are at risk of increasedexposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) and its associated health impacts. Better understanding of population-level TRAP exposure can focus efforts on reducing the specific health burden due to this issue.
Extreme weather events impact population health with both direct and indirect consequences. Several thousand Ontarians visited an emergency department in 2012 for illnesses and injuries related to extreme weather, an underestimate of the true health impact. A changing climate means more extreme weather events, which will adversely affect the health of Ontarians.
Nearly 33,000 (27.6%) Ontario children entering school between 2009 and 2012 were not fully ready to learn. Even more boys and children from the most deprived neighbourhoods were not ready to learn at school entry. School readiness is a good marker of a child’s development in the first five years, a period of growth that influences health across the life course.
The impact of foodborne illness is substantial, affecting over 100,000 Ontarians each year. Foodborne illness can cause serious health outcomes, although most are short-lived and do not require medical treatment. Estimates indicate that less than 4% of foodborne illnesses that occur are actually reported. Collaboration across multiple sectors and jurisdictions can increase understanding of food contamination and help to prevent foodborne illness.
Measles has been eliminated in the Americas, including Canada, but Ontarians are still at risk of catching the disease. In 2014, 22 cases of measles were reported, many Ontarians are not fully vaccinated against measles and remain at risk of infection. Vigilance is required if the province is to remain free of one of the world’s most contagious diseases.
Mental health and mental illness—distinct but related concepts—are critically important to the health and wellbeing of Ontarians. Nearly 80% have “flourishing” mental health, yet over 10% of Ontarians were diagnosed with depression or other mood and anxiety disorders. The health impact of poor mental health and mental illness can begin in childhood and extend across the life course.
More than 1 in 10 children and youth and 1 in 4 adults and seniors in Ontario are obese. Even larger proportions are overweight. These high rates are the result of several decades of increase and cannot be attributed to just one cause. Obesity is a complex issue that diminishes Ontarians’ health and quality of life across the life course.
Differences in the demographics of Ontario’s population are known to impact health. Ontario's population is growing in number, becoming more culturally diverse and getting older. These factors, along with others such as income, education and employment, are called ‘determinants of health’ and they play a key role in the health status of the population as a whole. Understanding the determinants, and how they change over time, can help to understand the health needs of all Ontarians.
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas found in soil and water that can enter buildings and accumulate in indoor air. Exposure to radon is a serious health concern. It is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer among current or former smokers. There are approximately 850 lung cancer deaths in Ontario each year due to radon exposure. Radon levels in many homes can be reduced through construction measures such as sealing openings in a home where radon could be entering or changing building code requirements for newly constructed buildings.
Respiratory virus infections are among the most frequently occurring infectious diseases in Ontario. Influenza is a significant threat to the health of the population during the winter, and we are increasingly becoming aware that other respiratory viruses cause disease and illness throughout the year. Sophisticated laboratory testing allows for improved understanding of which viruses are circulating. Public health is increasingly using this information to effectively manage influenza and other respiratory virus illnesses throughout the year.
Road safety is one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century. Although Ontario has experienced significant declines in rates of road traffic collision, injury and death over the past four decades, these preventable events still occur. New threats to road safety, such as distracted driving, have emerged, and challenges, such as impaired driving, persist. Road traffic collisions continue to compromise the safety of all road users in Ontario.