This article is part of the supplement: Women's Health Surveillance Report
Morbidity Experiences and Disability Among Canadian Women
1 Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, 120 Colonnade Rd, Ottawa, Canada
2 Canadian Institute for Health Information, Toronto, Canada
3 Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, 120 Colonnade Rd, Ottawa, Canada
BMC Women's Health 2004, 4(Suppl 1):S10 doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S10Published: 25 August 2004
Women are more frequently affected by chronic conditions and disability than men. Although some of these sex differences have been in part attributed to biological susceptibility, social determinants of health and other factors, these gaps have not been fully explained in the current literature. This chapter presents comparisons of hospitalization rates, and the prevalence of chronic conditions and physical disability between Canadian women and men and between various subgroups of women, adjusting for selected risk factors. The Canadian Hospital Morbidity Database (2000–2001) and Canadian Community Health Survey (2000–2001) were used to examine inpatient hospital morbidity, prevalence of chronic conditions and disability.
Hospitalization rates were 20% higher among women than men. This was due to the large number of hospitalizations for pregnancies and childbirth. When "normal" deliveries were excluded, hospitalization rates remained higher among women. Women had slightly lower rates of hospitalizations for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions than men. Prevalence of activity limitation (mild and severe) was higher among women than men, and differences remained after adjusting for age, chronic conditions, socio-economic status, and smoking. Women who reported a disability were less likely than men to be in a partnered relationship, have less tangible social support, and have lower income and employment rates.
Data Gaps and Recommendations
The impact of morbidity and disability on Canadian women is substantial. These results identify areas for interventions among more vulnerable subgroups, and point to the need for further research in the area of risk factors for the prevention of morbidity and disability in the population.