Montreal's health at a glance

Photo by Patrick Lejtenyi

A new major study by the Montreal public health agency of 11,000 residents shows that while our overall health is getting better, more needs to be done to improve it.

That includes better mass transit, better education on health matters and better access to fresh and nutritious food.

The study was unveiled at the Jean-Talon market, a fitting locale, said the agency's director Dr. Richard Massé, given the importance of fresh, nutritious food when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Massé says he'd like to see more open-air markets across the city, particularly on its eastern tip. 

That area has the worst health in Montreal, according to the study.

It's population has lower education and employment levels than elsewhere in the city, and its residents live in what's been described as a food desert - an area where fresh and healthy food, particularly fruit and vegetables - are hard to come by. 

Those factors, says Massé, are big contributors to poor health and obesity.

"We have to support, with the city, the kinds of markets like the Jean-Talon market, as well places that sell fresh fruit and vegetables," he said.

Other findings: One in three Montrealers suffers from a chronic illness such as hypertension, asthma or diabetes. That number rises to 50 per cent for those aged over 55.

Seventy per cent of premature deaths among those aged 20 and over are attributable to chronic illnesses.

Sixty percent of Montrealers don't consume their recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables.

One in five smokes.

One in seven indulges in binge drinking.

However, 55 per cent of Montrealers had access to a family doctor in 2012. That's up from 37 per cent in 2008.

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  1. George Grummett posted on 05/06/2014 08:10 PM
    I wonder if there isn't also a correlation with the fact that Montreal is situated at the a** end of the St-Lawrence River, and obtains most of its potable water from it.
    For well over a century, communities upstream have been dumping a lot of their domestic and industrial waste into the lakes and rivers - water that eventually comes downriver to us. I think that the Montreal water we drink is fairly good, but can the filtration plants remove everything?
  2. JS posted on 05/07/2014 06:40 AM
    If you're ever in doubt; boil it for a minute or two.
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