Upstream Approaches to Canadian Population Health


Health care in Canada is represented by a number of health insurance programs and plans that are directed at covering all regions and citizens of the country. Canadian health care plans are monitored and administered by special territorial organizations, which have to respond to the state government. The state government provides guidance and control for all the local branches. The health care system of Canada is determined to give medical treatment of good quality, preventative care and access to hospitals and various medical services to all the citizens of Canada (Canadian Health Care 2007). Best medical professionals and health care workers are taking an effort to research and explore the main sources of public health problems and improve the health of Canadian population.

Influences on Population Health in Canada

Currently Canadian population is suffering from many public health issues. The most significant problems Canadian people have to face are health inequality, serious difference in life expectancy across the regions of Canada and various social groups. The gap between rich and poor citizens of Canada is growing and it influences such aspects as infant mortality, chronic disease prevalence and the distribution of health services. Besides, the First Nations of Canada are currently a social group that is experiencing a lot of disadvantages and shortage of medical care and services (Kirkpatrick & McIntyre 2009). The upstream interventions are directed at the health determinants caused by health inequalities and the reasons of the gap between the rich and the poor.

Upstream Interventions

According to the statistical research made in various regions of Canada, different territories of the country are undergoing different risk factors and negative influences. For example, one of the major causes of health issues of people living in Canadian urban areas is alcohol consumption. At the same time, the rural territories suffer from nicotine addiction caused by smoking (Vafaei, Rosenberg & Pickett 2010). Upstream interventions for these causes of health problems should be directed at developing policies, educational programs and restrictions according to the territorial status of the region and its major issues. The societal factors that cause various issues could be dealt with by means of health promotion (Stepping it up: Moving the Focus from Health Care in Canada to Healthier Canada 2010). The recent measures employed by some of the legislators of Canada that were supposed to expand the health plans and cover more services turned out to be ineffective (Kliff 2012).

Health Inequities

Currently Canadian health care system is dealing with many issues. One of them is childhood obesity. The researchers are determined to solve this problem in order to provide healthier future for the citizens of Canada. The scientists know that addressing childhood obesity is the key for providing a better health for the future generations. The problem of childhood obesity is being addressed from three different sides. The professionals work on diagnostics of childhood obesity in order to catch it on early stages and stop its development, create supportive physical and social environments where healthier and more active lifestyle is promoted, and making the healthy food more accessible by means of limiting the markets of food and beverages rich in sugar and fat (Overview: Actions Taken and Future Directions 2011).

Health Determinants

Nutrition is one of the most important heath determinants for the population. The inequity of this determinant can lead to such health issues as obesity, heart diseases, thrombosis, blood pressure problems and diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in Canada (Dinca-Panaitescu et al. 2011). The kinds of food people consume directly affect public health. The latest researches made in Canadian provinces showed that statistically the rate of obesity is growing. Besides, the statistical data analysis showed that Canadian provinces such as Alberta, Quebec and Ontario demonstrated an increase of the obesity rate in the period from 2003 to 2007 (Obesity in Canada – Snapshot 2012). The upstream intervention is done by means of diagnostics and addressing childhood obesity in order to improve Canadian public health in the future.

Health Care Organizations in Canada

The Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organization (ACAHO) is determined to develop strategic moves addressing public health issues. This organization provides clinical trials and research for pharmaceutical companies. Besides, public health in Canada is represented by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). This is an independent and non-profitable organization, which has a goal to improve the health of the whole nation. One of the programs they employ is directed at managing illegal psychoactive substances (Welcome to CPHA 2014).

Health Care in the U. S. and Canada

The intervention strategies for the improvement of public health in Canada started to be launched long ago. Overall, the health of population of Canada is statistically better than the public health of the citizens of the United States (Health Status in Canada n. d.). Besides, the researches show that the Canadian average life expectancy is higher than life expectancy in the United States (Feeny et al. 2010).


The lesson the American public health practitioners can learn from this data is that the promotion of health care services is not what affects the overall health of population and life expectancy. These factors can be improved through the promotion of healthy lifestyle.


The promotion of public health and all the policies directed at the improvement of the health state of the population are based on the upstream investments. These investments are the measures that make the upstream intervention possible. They are aimed to search and address the roots of the causes of the public health issues. The earlier the problem is caught by a preventive policy, the better potential this policy has (Key Element 4: Increase Upstream Investments 2013). This means that thorough research is able to make very significant impact for the population.


The Canadian health care system has its fails, yet it is still statistically more successful than the health care in the United States. It is worth noticing that the Canadian health care system offers free access to health services for the citizens. At the same time one fifth of the American population has no insurance (Comparing the US and Canadian Health care Systems 2014). This is a big difference the American health care professionals and researchers should look at. Besides, the prevention of the problems at their roots is what helps the success of the Canadian health promotion.

Reference List

Canadian Health Care. (2007). Canadian-Healthcare. Web.

Comparing the US and Canadian Health care Systems. (2014). Nber. Web.

Dinca-Panaitescu, S., Dinca-Panaitescu, M., Bryant, T., Daiski, I., Pilkington, B., & Raphael, D. (2011). Diabetes prevalence and income: Results of the Canadian Community Health Survey. Health Policy, 99(2), 116–123.

Feeny, D., Kaplan, M. S., Huguet, N., & McFarland, B. H. (2010). Comparing Health population health in the United States and Canada. Population Health Metrics, 8, 8–18.

Health Status in Canada. (n. d.). Global Health and Issues in Disease Prevention. Web.

Stepping it up: Moving the focus from health care in Canada to a healthier Canada. (2010). Council of Canada. Web.

Key element 4: Increase upstream investments. (2013). Public Health Agency of Canada. Web.

Kliff, S. (2012). Canadian Health Care in the Post. Web.

Kirkpatrick, S. I., & McIntyre, L. (2009). The Chief Public Health Officer’s report on health inequalities: What are the implications for public health practitioners and researchers? Canadian Journal of Public Health, 100(2), 93–95.

Obesity in Canada – Snapshot. (2012). Public Health Agency of Canada. Web.

Overview: Actions Taken and Future Directions (2011). Public Health Agency of Canada. Web.

Vafaei, A., Rosenberg, M. W. & Pickett, W. (2010). Relationships between income inequality and health: A study on rural and urban regions of Canada. Rural and Remote Health, 10(2), 1430. Welcome to CPHA. CPHA. Web.

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