Greater Montreal's VitalSigns 2007
Foundation of Greater Montreal's Website
Health and Wellness

The level of physical activity among young people is inadequate, especially among girls. Awareness campaigns have had some success in the past, and they must continue in the face of persistent risk behaviours.

  • The number of general practitioners and specialists per 100,000 people in the region has remained stable at around 246 since 1997. In 2005, that proportion was 29% above the Canadian average. 1
  • Across the island, there were 299 general practitioners and specialists per 100,000 people in 2005, a 3.1% increase relative to 2001. In addition, there were 66 dentists and dental surgeons per 100,000 inhabitants. 2

  • In 2003, the proportion of the island’s residents aged 12 years and over who thought their oral health was inadequate was 15.6%. With increased use of fluoride tooth paste and greater access to some dental services, the oral health of young people has improved significantly over the past two decades. Despite this progress, among children in childcare in 2005, 40% had at least one tooth with decay problems. 3, 4
  • On the island, 25% of women and 40% of men aged 12 years and over did not have a family physician in 2005. More women than men felt their overall health condition was poor (13% vs. 9%) or that they suffered from mental health problems (5% vs. 3%). More women also had health problems that had an impact on their main area of activity (23% vs. 17%) and admitted having seriously thought of committing suicide (13% vs. 11%). 5
  • The overall suicide rate per 100,000 people on the island in 2000-03 was 12.8. The ratio was three times higher for men (19.7) than for women (6.3). The situation was even more dramatic across Quebec as a whole, with an overall rate of 17.7 per 100,000 and a rate of 28.4 per 100,000 for men. 4
  • Between 1997 and 2001, an average of five children aged less than 18 committed suicide each year across the island, with boys being the majority. However, more girls were hospitalized after a suicide attempt. 3
  • In 2001, 16.1% of those aged 15 years and over on the island reported having cared for elderly persons without pay, a figure that stood at 17.7% for Quebec as a whole. The figure of 13.3% for Greater Montreal was similar to Toronto’s and higher than Calgary’s (11.8%), but below Vancouver’s (14.6%). 4,6
  • This group of caregivers included 13.5% of men and 18.5% of women aged 15 years and over. A similar gap between men (14.7%) and women (20.6%) was found across the province. 4
  • In 2003, 11% of the island’s residents aged 65 years and over received home care; according to 2001 data, another 7.6% were institutionalized. Among those aged over 85 years on the island, 30.9% were institutionalized, compared with 37% across Quebec. 4
  • More than one fifth (22%) of those aged 12 and over on the island suffered from a long-term incapacity in 2003. Physical disabilities were more prevalent among low-income residents (33%) than among those with high incomes (19%). 7
  • In 2003, half of the island’s residents with disabilities required assistance in their daily lives. Most of them received some help (90%), but 40% had unmet needs, with almost one third of persons with disabilities not receiving the assistance needed in at least one of their daily activities. That proportion was 26% for Quebec as a whole. 7
  • Also in 2003, the ratio of children with handicaps on the island was 17.6 per thousand; the ratio was higher for boys (21.9 per thousand) than for girls (13.1 per thousand). 4
  • Between 1999 and 2003, pregnancy rates were greater on the island than in all of Quebec among both 18-19-year olds (80.5 vs. 65.9 per thousand) and 14-17-year olds (24.9 vs. 18.2 per thousand). 4
  • Over the 1999-2001 period, there were about 1,000 pregnancies each year among Montreal teenagers below the age of 18. The ratio was greater in Montreal (26 per thousand) than in all of Quebec (19 per thousand). A large proportion of these pregnancies were not brought to term: 77% were terminated by an abortion and 3% ended in miscarriage. Thus approximately   200 teenage girls under 18 years gave birth each during this period. 3
  • Across the island, the proportion of women without Grade 11 who gave birth in 2002-04 fell 2.5 percentage points relative to the previous period, but it remained high at 13.1%. In 1981-83, the figure stood at 25%, almost twice as high. 8, 9
  • In 2005, 10.8% of pregnant women on the island smoked and 27.4% drank alcohol. These percentages were about 7 points lower than for all of Quebec. 10
  • In 2005-06, the breastfeeding rate on the island was higher than those of other regions in Quebec. Six months after birth, the rate remained above 60% in Montreal but was less than 50% for Quebec as a whole. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding (without any other liquid or solid food) provided a different picture in that the Quebec average was slightly higher during the first four months; after six months, however, 4.5% of infants on the island were still being breastfed, while the proportion across Quebec was 3%. 10
  • To remain in good physical condition, teenagers must exercise almost daily and engage in vigorous physical activity at least three times a week. Fewer than half of young Montrealers met those two criteria in 2003. At the secondary V level, the proportions were only 39% for boys and 27% for girls. 3

Health-Related Risk Factors, Island of Montreal, 2005
Source: Direction de santé publique de Montréal 5

Smoking and lack of physical activity: population aged 12 years and over; obesity and excessive weight: population aged 18 and over; daily stress and stress at work: population aged 20 years and over.

  • Sur l’île, en 2003, environ un jeune de secondaire V sur 10 n’utilisait aucune protection lors des relations sexuelles. Or en 2006, 5 150 nouveaux cas d’infections transmises sexuellement ont fait leur apparition, soit 272 pour 100 000 habitants, en hausse de 15 % par rapport à 2004. 3, 11
  • In 2002-05, two thirds (65.1%) of the 3,158 cumulative cases of HIV infection in Quebec were recorded in the Montreal-Centre public health region, 8.1% in the Montérégie and 7.3% in the Quebec City area. Among infected Montrealers, 77.1% were men and 52.6% were new cases. A 2005 survey of men who engage in sex with other men revealed that 23% of those who were HIV-positive were unaware of their situation. 12, 13

  • The 2,055 cumulative cases of HIV infection recorded on the island in 2002-05 were distributed as follows, by major type of exposure: sexual relations between men, 47.5%; use of intravenous drugs, 15.5%; sexual relations between men and use of intravenous drugs, 4.0%; persons from countries where HIV is endemic, 20.6%; recipients of blood products, 0.7%); heterosexual contact with a high-risk partner, 3.2%; heterosexual contact without any known risk, 6.7%; risk unidentified, 1.1%; mother-to-child transmission, 0.7%. 13
  • According to a 2003 survey of street youths between the ages of 14 and 23, 31.3% used injection drugs. Among these users, 33.6% had shared needles in the previous six months. Among male respondents, 27.7% had practised prostitution between 2001 and 2003; 26.7% of those who reported high-risk relations with male customers had practised unprotected sex. 12

1 Health Indicator Reports, Canadian Institute for Health Information
(consulted on August 21, 2007)
2 Bulletin statistique régional. Montréal, Vol. 4, No. 1, Institut de la statistique du Québec, May 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
3 Objectif jeunes: comprendre, soutenir, Rapport annuel 2004-2005 sur la santé de la population montréalaise, Direction de santé publique de Montréal, 2005
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
4 Portrait de santé du Québec et de ses régions 2006: les statistiques, Deuxième rapport national sur l’état de santé de la population du Québec, Gouvernement du Québec, 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
5 Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes (ESCC 2005), Statistique Canada, compilation by the Direction de santé publique de Montréal
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
6 Community Profiles, Statistics Canada
(consulted on August 21, 2007)
7 Suzanne Pion and Anne-Marie Brunelle, Regard sur les familles montréalaises, Comité famille de la Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal, January 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
8 La santé urbaine, une condition nécessaire à l’essor de Montréal, Rapport annuel sur la santé de la population, Direction de santé publique, Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal-Centre, 2002
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
9 Nouveau-nés selon certaines caractéristiques, Montréal, 1999-2001 et 2002-2004, Direction de santé publique de Montréal
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
10 Recueil statistique sur l’allaitement maternel au Québec, 2005-2006, Institut de la statistique du Québec, septembre 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
11 Chiffres clés de la situation sociosanitaire pour Montréal, Direction de santé publique de Montréal
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
12 Actualités en épidémiologie sur le VIH / sida, Agence de santé publique du Canada, août 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
13 Programme de surveillance de l’infection par le virus de l’immunodéficience humaine (VIH) au Québec. Cas cumulatifs 2002-2005, Institut national de santé publique du Québec, September 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)