Causes of Avoidable Mortality in N.B. and in the Zones: where to Focus our Population Health Efforts

21 January 2015

Moncton, NB (NBHC) – The New Brunswick Health Council has released its latest Population Health Snapshot. The Snapshots for the province and each of the seven zones have been updated with the most recent indicators available. This Snapshot seeks to inform citizens, communities, and organizations about their health status with respect to the population in which they live. The information is available on one page and presented in a language that is easy to read and understand.

The report also includes a “Focus” section providing a detailed analysis of the causes of New Brunswick’s avoidable mortality.  Measuring the rates of premature mortality (death before age 75) and the causes of premature mortality can provide insights about how healthy the population is, and what are the challenges it is facing that could shorten a person’s life.  This concept is clearly explained in a clip available on the NBHC website:

“This year’s report gives a greater appreciation of the principal factors that can reduce New Brunswickers’ life expectancy.  We are happy to see some improvements from last year, but we must not lose sight that there is much work left to be done,“ say Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC, adding that “the information in the Snapshot can be of great use to system stakeholders, particularly at when it comes to health service planning and delivery based on the needs of the population.”

The NBHC’s 2014-2015 analysis highlights several key points, including:

  • The focus on prevention has allowed some improvements when it comes to some health services such as increase in access to a doctor, to pap tests and mammograms.
  • Some health behaviours or risk factors (known to be factors contributing to chronic diseases) such as healthy eating, obesity, and smoking are starting to trend in the right direction. Other risk factors such as physical activity, and alcohol consumption, remain a challenge.
  • The sense of community belonging demonstrates an improving trend.
  • Physical environment factors related to air quality (Second-hand smoke at home and in vehicles and public places, and self-rating of indoor air quality) are showing a slow trend in the right direction.
  • When it comes to self-rating their general health as being very good or excellent, New Brunswickers rank in last place out of the provinces for the 5th year in a row.

The Snapshot features summary tables of 43 indicators, with each indicator categorized under either Health Status or Health Determinants (itself subdivided into Health Care, Health Behaviours, Socioeconomic Factors and Physical Environment).  Also, for each zone, the Snapshot highlights community characteristics, which paints a demographic profile and lists the 10 most common chronic conditions and the 10 most frequent causes of hospital admissions.

Overall, provincial trends may mask a wide variability across the health regions/zones with some zones exhibiting trends that are opposite to those of the province. Understanding the geographic variability in health determinants and health outcomes is essential to better understand the possible underlying inequities in population health and quality of health care services, thus to effectively plan health programs and initiatives based on the needs of a given community.

The New Brunswick Population Health Snapshot for 2014-2015 is available online at:

The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance and population health, and that engages citizens in the improvement of health service quality. 


MEDIA CONTACT: Manon Arsenault, 506-869-6728, 

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