Social Determinants of Health – Health

The following information is compiled and presented by Quality of Care NL, an applied health and social systems research and evaluation program aimed at improving social and health outcomes in Newfoundland and Labrador. Click here to download a PDF version of the information presented below.

Health is more than the absence of disease or injury. It also refers to physical, mental and social well-being and is determined by an individual’s circumstances and environment.

A major indicator of well-being is how a person rates their own health status. Similarly, access to health care is fundamental to health and staying well.

Healthy People: Health-adjusted Life Expectancy

Health-adjusted life expectancy is the number of years in good health that an individual can expect to live given the current morbidity and mortality conditions. Health-adjusted life expectancy is not only a measure of quantity of life but also a measure of quality of life.

  • From 2000/2002 to 2015/2017, health-adjusted life expectancy was lower in NL compared to Canada and this gap has grown.
  • In 2000/2002 health adjusted life expectancy was 0.3 years lower in NL compared to Canada and in 2015/2017 it was 3.3 years lower in NL.
  • In 2000/2002, NL ranked fifth (tied with ON) for health-adjusted life expectancy among the Canadian provinces and in 2015/2017 NL ranked tenth (1=best and 10=worst).



Healthy People: Self-rated Mental Health

Self-rated mental health was measured using the following question, “In general, how is your mental health?” The possible response categories included: excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

  • Overall from Q2 2021 to Q2 2023, excellent or very good self-rated mental health rates have increased in NL (7% increase) and across Canada (12% increase).
  • Excellent or very good self-rated mental health rates have generally been higher in NL compared to Canada (except for Q3 2022 and Q4 2022).
  • In Q2 2021, NL ranked fifth among the Canadian provinces for the proportion of those reporting excellent or very good mental health and in Q2 2023 NL ranked second (1=best and 10=worst).
Healthy People: Self-rated Health

Self-rated health was measured using the following question, “In general, how is your health?” The possible response categories included: excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

  • Overall from Q2 2021 to Q2 2023, excellent or very good self-rated health rates have decreased in NL and across Canada. The rates decreased by 5% in NL and 16% across Canada.
  • From Q2 2021 to Q2 2023, all provinces saw a decrease in the proportion of those reporting excellent or very good health.
  • In Q2 2021, NL ranked tenth among the Canadian provinces for the proportion of those reporting excellent or very good health and in Q2 2023 NL ranked second (1=best and 10=worst).



Health Services: Regular Health Care Provider

Access to health care is fundamental to health and staying well. Having reasonable and equitable access to universal health services facilitates earlier diagnosis, lowers mortality and comorbidity rates, and leads to improved physical, mental, emotional and social outcomes. However, when barriers such as provider availability, inadequate health insurance coverage, cost of non-insured health services (e.g. dental care, prescription drugs and mental health counselling), socio-cultural issues and health literacy prevent people from getting these services, health suffers.

  • From 2015 to 2022, the proportion of individuals reporting they had a regular health care provider increased slightly across Canada but remained fairly stable in NL until 2022 when the proportion decreased.
  • In 2022, the proportion of individuals reporting they had a regular health care provider was approximately 5% lower in NL compared to Canada.
  • In 2017, NL ranked third among the Canadian provinces for having a regular health care provider and in 2022 NL ranked eighth (1=best and 10=worst)

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