ROGER SAUVÉ – Life Trends – Facts And Figures That Matter To You – How are you doing, eh? Pretty good. February 8, 2010

ROGER SAUVÉ – Life Trends – Facts And Figures That Matter To You – How are you doing, eh? Pretty good.

This is not a trick question. Statistics Canada actually has the answer. All results are based on what we say and are not based on what our doctors claim, our special friend or spouse says or what the next door neighbours thinks.

The results are based on a 2008 survey of residents of SD&G and Prescott-Russell. Results are also available for all regions of the country.

About 57% of us say that our physical health is “very good or excellent”. This ranges from a high of 70% for those aged 12-19 years of age to 66% for those a mid-life (35-44) to only 42% among those aged 65 and up. There is very little difference between the sexes. Only 15% of us say our health is fair or poor but this rises to one in four for those aged 45 and over.

We rate our mental health much higher than we do our physical health. About 72% of us say our mental health is “very good or excellent” and only 5% rate our mental health as fair or poor. The peak in self-perceived mental health is at mid-life (35-44) when almost 80% think our mental health is very good or excellent. The other high points are at ages 12-19 and 65 and over when about 75% of us give ourselves top rankings. Again, there is not much difference between men and women.

Are you stressed out? About one quarter of us say we have “quite a bit” of life stress. For this question, women are almost twice as likely to feel stressed out than men. The biggest difference in stress levels is at the age of 35-44 when only one out of every five men say they have “quite a bit of stress” while half of women say so. This a time when families have small children or teenagers to care for, meals to prepare, activities to participate or support and the highest likelihood of being a dual-income family. This stressful period stresses women much more than men. Does this suggest that men are not taking up their fair share of the load? What do you think?

The best part of the story follows. Regardless of how we feel about our physical and mental health, about 94% of us (that is most of us) feel “satisfied or very satisfied” with life and there is little difference between men and women. The most satisfied are those aged 12-19 when 97% feel satisfied and the least satisfied are those age 34-44 when “only” 90% are satisfied. Is it a coincidence that the least satisfied (but still very high) are the ones that are probably the most concerned about the most satisfied? Raising kids may be stressful but it is satisfying.

I do like the result that says that 94% of adults aged 65 and over are satisfied with life. At least on this measure, I am in the majority.

Life is to be lived and enjoyed. If you are in the small whining minority … get a life and live. I believe that you only go through once. Of course, some people have good reasons to complain due to their health problems and occasional changing life circumstances.

Roger Sauvé is President of People Patterns Consulting . Roger is an economist and demographer and lives in Summerstown.

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