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Health in the NWT: We get a D-minus but we’re not complaining

The Northwest Territories gets a D-minus rating for health in a new Canada-wide report – but the territory’s residents say they’re fine.

Despite the D-minus, which is joint-worst in the country, NWT residents score an A-plus if you ask them how they feel.

The Conference Board of Canada has produced the report.

One of the categories is “self-reported health” – in other words, how many people in a province or territory say their health is ‘good’ or ‘very good’ if you ask them.

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In the NWT, that figure is 90.7%.

That’s not only higher than anywhere else in Canada, it also beats all 15 other countries included in the board’s report.

By comparison, just 30% of people in Japan are happy with their health (though it’s not clear if the survey methodology changed between nations, including precisely how this was worded and measured).

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Read: Conference Board of Canada’s full health report

The NWT also has the “lowest share of the population with self-reported pain or discomfort among the provinces and territories,” says the board’s report.

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The news is not so good when you look at the overall picture.

The territory’s D-minus places it 28th of the 29 provinces, territories and countries studied, well below the Canadian average (which is a B grade). Its lowly ranking is shared with Yukon, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Northwest Territories receives D-minus grades on four indicators: life expectancy, premature mortality, infant mortality, and mortality due to cancer,” says a summary of the report.

“The territory also has one of the highest mortality rates due to respiratory diseases, and earns C grades on suicides and mortality due to heart disease and stroke.”

The best places to live in Canada are British Columbia and Ontario, both of which received A grades – placing them on a par with Switzerland and Sweden.

The United States, by contrast, received a D.

Data in the report, released on February 12, comes from either 2012 or the most recent year available.

The report used 10 indicators: life expectancy, premature mortality, infant mortality, self-reported health status, mortality due to cancer, mortality due to heart disease and stroke, mortality due to respiratory disease, mortality due to diabetes, mortality due to diseases of the nervous system, and suicides.

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