MHLU - Health Status Resource

Self-Reported Chronic Health Problems

Self-Reported Chronic Health Problems

Key Findings: 
  • In 2013/14 27% of the Middlesex-London population (12+) reported having at least one of the following chronic conditions: asthma, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes or heart disease (Fig. 6.1).
  • Among seniors 54% reported having at least one of these chronic conditions.  This compares to 22% of the population aged 12-64 (Fig. 6.1).
  • Of all the chronic conditions, having high blood pressure was the most commonly reported (Fig. 6.1).
  • The proportion of seniors who reported having high blood pressure decreased significantly from 55.4% in 2009/10 (data not shown) to 40.8% in 2013/14 (Fig. 6.1).
  • In all conditions, except asthma, there was a dramatic difference between those aged 12-64 and those aged 65 and older (Fig. 6.1).
  • A larger proportion of the population in Middlesex-London reported having heart disease and at least one of the chronic conditions compared to the Peer Group. No significant differences were found when comparing Middlesex-London to Ontario (data not shown).
  • The proportion of self-reported chronic health problems did not differ significantly between males and females (Fig. 6.2).
  • Males in Middlesex-London had significantly lower self-reported rates of diabetes and heart disease compared to males in the Peer Group. Females in Middlesex-London had a significantly lower rate of stroke compared to women in both the Peer Group and Ontario (data not shown).
Interpretive Notes

The information presented in the Chronic Conditions chapter uses data from several different sources. Using multiple data sources is helpful to validate the findings seen in each source.  Each data source has its strengths and weaknesses.  Self-reported data is the least reliable data because people are not always aware of, or truthful about, their chronic conditions when asked in a survey.  The upside to self-reported data is that it measures the prevalence in the population including cases that are not severe enough to be hospitalized.  Hospitalization data is a more accurate and reliable source of data because it is collected consistently and uniformly across Canada.  Its downfall is that it only captures cases of disease that have an episode severe enough to require hospitalization.  Registry data is the most accurate and complete data source because it has a standardized method of data collection.  It is complete because registries legally require that all new (incident) cases and deaths due to cancer, detected through the healthcare system, be reported. The pitfall of registry data is that it is only collected for a few diseases, such as cancer.

How this Indicator was Calculated: 
Ontario Public Health Standard: 

Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol - Section 1, Subsections b-iii, vii

Chronic Disease Prevention Standard - Requirement #1

Jargon Explained

Peer group 

Statistics Canada used socio-demographic data from the 2006 Census to create "peer groups" of health regions that have similar characteristics.  In total, 24 socio-demographic variables and prominent geographic characteristics were used to create 10 peer groups.  

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Self-reported chronic health conditions survey question

The question in the Canadian Community Health Survey is “Now I’d like to ask about certain chronic health conditions which you may have. We are interested in ‘long-term conditions’ which are expected to last or have already lasted 6 months or more and that have been diagnosed by a health professional”.