June 2, 2015 3:58 pm
Updated: June 2, 2015 11:48 pm

Health survey finds ‘undesirably high proportion’ of reported binge drinking in Whistler

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While Whistler has a high prevalence of healthy people, Vancouver Coastal Health says there is an ‘undesirably high proportion’ of reported binge drinking.

A new survey titled “My Health My Community” says 48.2 per cent of Whistler residents report binge drinking more than one time a month.

The survey defines ‘binge drinking’ as five or more drinks on one occasion for men and four or more drinks on one occasion for women.

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However, the survey also finds Whistler has very good self-reported general health, with low chronic disease burden. The findings show exceptional levels of weekly physical activity and lower prevalence of obesity in the region.

When it comes to binge drinking, Squamish was a close second with more than a third of respondents saying they binge drink at least once a month. Richmond and Langley have the lowest proportion of binge drinkers.

The survey is the largest ever conducted in B.C. with 33,000 responses.

Other findings across the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities include a significant variation in self-reported physical and mental health and access to a family doctor. The survey finds compact urban centres better support active transportation modes like walking and biking, as well as have access to more community services, but says residents in rural communities tend to have a stronger sense of community belonging and are a little better prepared for emergencies.

“The survey is like a blood-test for our communities,” says Dr. Victoria Lee, Chief Medical Health Officer with Fraser Health. “The results provide us with valuable information that our Medical Health Officers can use to ‘diagnose’ the health of our region.  We can then focus our work with municipalities and local stakeholders to create a roadmap of good health for the future.”

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