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News Release

Health Neighbourhoods Release 2 provides 20 new indicators for Durham Region Neighbourhoods

WHITBY, ON February 19, 2016 - Durham Region Health Department has released new data to continue building on the extensive information that is available for 50 “Health Neighbourhoods” across Durham Region. The 20 new indicators are from a variety of data sources and show different aspects of health including demographics, disease prevalence and cancer screening. The information is available at and is meant to help support strong, safe and equitable neighbourhoods, and improve the health and well-being of all area residents.

The new indicators are:

  1. Seniors living alone
  2. Female lone-parent families
  3. Aboriginal population
  4. Movers in the past year
  5. Households that rent
  6. Households with shelter costs that amount to more than 30 per cent of income
  7. Households with unsuitable housing
  8. Households with major dwelling repairs needed
  9. Self-rated mental health
  10. Asthma prevalence in children
  11. Births to young mothers 23 years-old or younger
  12. Births to older mothers 35 years-old or older
  13. Breast cancer screening (mammography)
  14. Cervical cancer screening (Pap tests)
  15. Overdue for colorectal cancer screening
  16. Diabetes prevalence
  17. Lung disease (COPD) prevalence
  18. Population with a primary care physician
  19. Residence ambulance calls
  20. Residence ambulance calls in seniors

Seven of the indicators came from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), an organization that works with provincial health data. These include three cancer screening indicators related to breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, as well as three disease prevalence indicators related to asthma in children, diabetes in adults, and lung disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults. ICES also provided data on the percentage of people who have a primary care physician.

The Health Department also developed two indicators from data received from Region of Durham Paramedic Services - residence ambulance calls and residence ambulance calls in seniors.

“Many of the indicators continue to reinforce the importance of investing in Priority Neighbourhoods,” explained Mary-Anne Pietrusiak, an epidemiologist with Durham Region Health Department. “The Health Department recently identified seven Neighbourhoods that require focus to build on health and well-being.”

Some of the findings from this new data include:

  • Diabetes prevalence is significantly higher in Durham Region than what is seen across Ontario; however, diabetes rates are lower in rural areas of Durham Region. Neighbourhoods with higher diabetes have higher populations of recent immigrants and visible minorities and/or are Priority Neighbourhoods.
  • Durham Region has significantly better cancer screening rates than Ontario for all three cancer screening indicators – mammography, Pap tests and colorectal cancer screening. Screening rates are lower where there are higher populations of recent immigrants and in the Priority Neighbourhoods.
  • The percentage of seniors 65 and older who live alone ranges from three per cent in Ajax Northeast to 54 per cent in Downtown Oshawa, with higher percentages in the Priority Neighbourhoods. Although seniors living alone may be an indication of independence and that they are in good enough health to live on their own, there are also concerns about social and physical supports that some seniors may need.

Information from the Health Neighbourhoods project is available online at The site provides access to various reports, a map viewer and 82 indicator summaries, along with neighbourhood profiles for the 50 Health Neighbourhoods, the eight area municipalities and Durham Region as a whole. The map viewer allows users to zoom in to specific Neighbourhoods and view roads and various points of interest, such as schools, recreational facilities and other community amenities. New information such as government buildings, bus routes and bus stops, and social and affordable housing were added as new points of interest to the map viewer. In addition, the map viewer provides access to maps of specific demographic, early child development and health indicators.

Information from the Health Neighbourhoods project will continue to be used by the Health Department to guide and inform programs and services. The data provides communities with valuable information, allowing them to take action to improve the health and well-being of all residents.

For more information about Durham Region Health Department’s Health Neighbourhoods project, visit, or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800841-2729.

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

For more information, please contact Health Department.