MHLU - Health Status Resource

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Aboriginal Identity Population

The Aboriginal identity population includes people who reported that they identify with at least one Aboriginal group; that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit, and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian, as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nations.

Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI)

An adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is an unfavourable medical condition or reaction that occurs after an immunization is given.  An adverse event that follows an immunization may or may not be due to that immunization.  Reports of AEFIs from Middlesex-London are compiled and assessed as part of the provincial, national and international system of vaccine safety monitoring.

Age-Specific Fertility Rate

The number of live births to women in a given age group over the number of women in that age group.

Age-Standardized Rate

Age-standardized rates may be used to compare different geographic areas or time frames to adjust for any differences in the age structure of the populations that could cause a difference in rates.

It reflects the number of events (e.g., deaths, hospitalizations) that would occur for a given population if that population had the same age distribution as the 1991 Canadian population.

Age-standardized rates have been used to make more valid comparisons than comparing crude rates. Standardization requires adjusting for the effects of varying age structures of different populations and over different periods of time. The importance of age-standardization can be illustrated by using Population X, which has a higher proportion of elderly persons than Population Y. The unadjusted or “crude” mortality rate for Population X would be significantly higher than Population Y solely because it has a higher proportion of elderly persons and the elderly have a much higher death rate than younger people. This concept also applies when comparing one population over different time periods if the age structure of the population changes over time. By standardizing the mortality rates for Population X, we can see what the mortality rate would be like if they had the same age structure as Population Y. The two different populations are now compared directly.

Air Quality Index (AQI)

This index is based on six pollutants that have adverse effects on human health and the environment: ozone (O3), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and total reduced sulphur (TRS) compounds.

AQI < 32 = good or very good; AQI 32-49 = moderate; AQI 50-99 = poor; AQI >99 = very poor

Air quality in the poor or very poor range can have adverse effects on a large portion of the animal/human population and can damage property and vegetation. (Ministry of the Environment, 2008)

Association of Public Health Epidemiologists of Ontario (APHEO)

The Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario is an organization of approximately 90 full members who practice epidemiology in Ontario's public health units, as well as more than 150 affiliate members. APHEO's mission is to advance and promote the discipline and professional practice of epidemiology in Ontario public health units. 

Binge Drinking

Drinking  five or more  alcoholic drinks on one occasion.

Body Mass Index

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height (kg/m2) and is considered the most useful indicator of population health risk associated with both overweight and underweight. (Health Canada, 2003)

Normal weight – BMI 18.5-24.9

Overweight – BMI 25.0-29.9

Obese – BMI 30.0 and above

Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)

The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is a national population household survey of Canadians aged 12 years and older. It provides self-reported information related to health status, health care utilization and health determinants. Data is generally available down to the level of health region. To produce accurate estimates at the health unit level, two-year period estimates (e.g. 2013 and 2014 data average) were used in this resource along with estimates from the 2003, 2005, 2007/8 , 2009/10 and 2011/12 data collection cycles. 

Cardiovascular Disease

 ‘Cardiovascular disease is a term that refers to more than one disease of the circulatory system including the heart and blood vessels, whether the blood vessels are affecting the lungs, the brain, kidneys or other parts of the body. The six types of cardiovascular disease are ischemic heart disease (heart attack), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, rheumatic heart disease and congenital heart disease.’  Public Health Agency of Canada 2011


Data from the Canadian Census was provided by Statistics Canada. The census takes place every five years in Canada and is a reliable source of information for population and dwelling counts as well as demographic and other socio-economic characteristics.

Census Family

Married and common-law couples, and the children, if any, of either or both spouses, who all live in the same dwelling.  It also includes single parents with children living in the same dwelling.  Children may be of any age or marital status as long as they live in the same dwelling as their parent(s).

Coefficient of Variation

The coefficient of variation (CV) is the measure used to indicate the sampling variability associated with survey estimates. The CV is obtained by dividing the standard deviation of the estimate by the estimate itself and it is expressed as a percentage of the estimate. Statistics Canada guidelines around the release of survey estimates, based on the magnitude of the CV, have been followed in this resource:

  • A CV between 0 and 16.5% is considered acceptable and the estimate can be released without restriction;
  • Estimates with a CV between 16.6 and 33.3% can be released, but with a cautionary note regarding high sampling variability;
  • Estimates with a CV greater than 33.3% should be suppressed due to extreme sampling variability;
  • Estimate release guidelines require at least 10 observations;

For CCHS survey estimates in this resource, CV’s have been calculated using the “bootstrap method”.

Confidence Intervals

Confidence intervals (CIs) indicate the reliability of a statistical estimate or rate.  A 95% confidence interval is interpreted as a range in which we can be 95% confident the true population value lies. Wide confidence intervals, suggest less reliable estimates than narrow confidence intervals. In general, the larger the population, the narrower the CI and hence, the more precise is the estimate. Confidence intervals can also be used as tests of statistical significance when comparing estimates – if the CIs for the estimates under comparison overlap, we can say the difference between the estimates is not statistically significant. For CCHS data, 95% CIs have been calculated using the “bootstrap method”.

Diagnosis Classification

Diagnoses are classified using the Canadian modification of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10-CA).  For more information about what diagnoses are included in each ICD-10 chapter please consult

Dissemination Area

A small geographic area with a population of 400 to 700 persons. All of Canada is divided into dissemination areas which are used to report Census information.

Elderly Dependency Ratio

Number of people aged 65 years and older divided by the number of people aged 20 to 64


People over the age of 15 years who did any work at all, or who had a job but were not at work, e.g., on leave. 

Food Handler Certification Program

A program designed to teach food handlers the general principles of safe food handling such as risk factors associated with food borne illness and to teach the skills necessary to handle food and prevent illness from occurring. The course is based on the principles of sanitary food service and hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) procedures. 

Food Security

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The CCHS survey questions asked whether household members were able to afford the food they needed in the previous 12 months. Households were classified as food insecure if there was an indication of compromise in quality and/or quantity of food consumed or reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns due to lack of money.