Health Trends in Canada

In one of the world’s largest developed countries, free healthcare has been readily available to the entire population for 50 years – and for those with private supplemental health insurance, or who are willing to pay private practitioners, services can be obtained quickly and easily. However, as the cost of healthcare increases, we will begin to see a shift in private health insurance – which covers all “non-essential” treatments such as dental, vision and chiropractic care as well as prescription drug costs.

The Canadian healthcare industry is currently booming, as substantial investments are being made privately and in the public sector. Additionally, as in other parts of the world, more people are turning to alternative medicines and health supplements, which can be quite costly if not included in a private health insurance plan – plans which are, themselves, sometimes cost prohibitive for the average Canadian who doesn’t have health benefits through an employer, leading people to forego some health services altogether.

Also, the population is shifting: while the percentage of people over age 65 is growing quickly, that of people under 14 is decreasing as Canadians choose to have fewer children. Therefore, though most seniors are in good health with a life expectancy of 79 for men and 85 years for women, we are seeing an increased need for senior healthcare services. Further, as more and more medical professionals are retiring, and fewer young people are stepping into their positions, we will soon see a shortage in available healthcare personnel.

And while there will always be users of the traditional healthcare system, there is a rise in “self-diagnoses” using online tools, and “self-prescriptions” of alternative care, or fad diets to improve overall health. Some, like the rise in veganism and the juicing trend, can – if not followed properly – actually cause gaps in nutrition or excesses in sugar intake.

Canadians’ schedules are fuller than they have ever been, and we’re increasingly looking for the quick fix – and with today’s online solutions, a rise in the numbers and visibility of diet and exercises gurus are making that possible. Why spend 45-60 minutes getting exercise when a 7-minute Crossfit circuit can target the whole body more quickly and efficiently? Why prepare a meal when you can drink a green smoothie or protein shake? While natural healthcare is an admirable choice, we haven’t had enough exposure to study the long-term effects it may have on an individual’s overall health even when done right, let alone followed sporadically by internet enthusiasts.

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