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About half of Aboriginal people rated their overall health as excellent or very good
According to results of the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), about half (52%) of the Aboriginal population aged 12 and older in Canada rated its overall health as excellent or very good. Métis aged 12 to 24 were the only Aboriginal group who reported an overall health rating on par with that of their non-Aboriginal peersNote 1.
The majority of off-reserve First Nations people (60%), Métis (64%), and Inuit (53%) aged 18 and older reported excellent or very good mental healthNote 2. The corresponding percentage for the non-Aboriginal population was 72%.
Six in ten off-reserve First Nations people (61%) and Métis (60%) and 42% of Inuit aged 12 and older reported that they had been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition. The corresponding percentage for the non-Aboriginal population was 53%.
First Nations people, Métis and Inuit in all age groups had higher rates of daily smoking than their non-Aboriginal counterparts
In 2012, 27% of off-reserve First Nations people aged 12 and older reported that they smoked daily, as did 26% of Métis and 49% of Inuit. The comparable percentage for the non-Aboriginal population was 15%.
For those 12 years and older, the rate of heavy drinking (5 or more drinks on one occasion at least once a month in the previous 12 months) was 35% for off-reserve First Nations people, 30% for Métis, and 39% for Inuit, compared with 23% for non-Aboriginal people.
At the same time, 31% of off-reserve First Nations people and 38% of Inuit were non-drinkers, that is, had consumed no alcohol in the previous 12 months, compared with 24% of the non-Aboriginal population. The percentage for Métis was 25%. At ages 12 to 24, 43% of First Nations people and 50% of Inuit were non-drinkers. The corresponding percentage for their non-Aboriginal peers was 36%; the same percentage reported by Métis in this age group.
Household food insecurity
Among off-reserve First Nations people 12 years and older, 22% lived in households that experienced food insecurity, three times the proportion of non-Aboriginal people (7%). Overall, 15% of Métis and 27% of Inuit also lived in food-insecure households. Food insecurity was a problem for a larger percentage of First Nations females (26%) than First Nations males (16%). One contributing factor may be that lone-parent families were more likely to be headed by females and the Aboriginal population had a higher percentage of lone parents.
The high cost of food in the North contributed to food insecurity. In most isolated communities, it may cost $360 to $450 a week to provide a nutritious diet for a family of four, compared with about $200 to $250 in the South.
For additional information on Aboriginal health, see Select health indicators of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit.
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