11/20/2013 06:20 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Canada's diabetes rates poor in global health ranking

Canada ranks poorly when it comes to the number of cases of diabetes and adult obesity, according to a new international report.

The  Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released its Health at a Glance 2013 report on Wednesday, focusing on slowing health-care spending following the global financial crisis. Members of the OECD include developed countries in Europe and North America, as well as Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada ranked poorly in:

- Higher diabetes prevalence among those aged 20 to 79.

- Self-reported overweight boys.

- Self-reported obesity in adults.

The number of midwives per 100,000 women was highest in Iceland, Sweden and Turkey in 2011 and lowest in Korea, Canada and Slovenia.

Canada did better than average on mortality from heart attacks and strokes, life expectancy at birth and smoking among 15-year-olds and fruit and vegetable consumption.

"Cuts in spending on preventing obesity, harmful use of alcohol and tobacco consumption are cases of 'penny-wise, pound foolish' thinking," the report's editorial said.

Among the report's other international findings:

-  For the first time, average life expectancy exceeded 80 years across OECD countries in 2011, an increase of 10 years since 1970. Those born in Switzerland, Japan and Italy can expect to live the longest among OECD countries. Canada's life expectancy at birth in 2011 was 81.0 compared with 80.1 for the OECD overall.

- Chronic diseases such as diabetes and dementia are increasingly prevalent. In 2011, close to seven per cent of those aged 20 to 79 in OECD countries, or over 85 million people, had diabetes. This number is likely to increase in the years ahead, given the high and often growing rates of obesity across the developed world.


Across OECD countries, more than 15 per cent of people aged 50 and older provide care for a dependent relative or friend, and most informal carers are women.