Numerous non-Canadian studies have shown that immigrant women experience higher rates of adverse maternal and perinatal events than the general non-immigrant population. Limited information about the pregnancy outcomes of immigrant Canadian women is available.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study at St. Michael's Hospital between October 2002 and June 2006 to estimate the risk of adverse obstetrical and perinatal outcomes among foreign-born women residing in Toronto. The main study outcomes were the incidences of preterm delivery between 32 and 36 completed weeks' gestation, low infant birth weight, and delivery by Caesarean section.
Compared with Canadian-born women, those who were foreign-born had an associated adjusted odds ratio of 0.85 (95% CI 0.64 to 1.14) for preterm delivery, 1.92 (95% CI 1.29 to 2.85) for low infant birth weight, and 1.16 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.34) for delivery by Caesarean section.
In this study, foreign-born women had a non-significantly lower risk of preterm birth, but a significantly higher risk of low birth weight infants and Caesarean section than Canadian-born women. In this urban setting, recent immigrant women have worse pregnancy outcomes, warranting increased attention to this group during antenatal and intrapartum care.
The majority of immigrants to Canada originate from the developing world, where the most rapid increase in prevalence of diabetes mellitus is occurring. We undertook a population-based study involving immigrants to Ontario, Canada, to evaluate the distribution of risk for diabetes in this population.
We used linked administrative health and immigration records to calculate age-specific and age-adjusted prevalence rates among men and women aged 20 years or older in 2005. We compared rates among 1,122,771 immigrants to Ontario by country and region of birth to rates among long-term residents of the province. We used logistic regression to identify and quantify risk factors for diabetes in the immigrant population.
After controlling for age, immigration category, level of education, level of income and time since arrival, we found that, as compared with immigrants from western Europe and North America, risk for diabetes was elevated among immigrants from South Asia (odds ratio [OR] for men 4.01, 95% CI 3.82-4.21; OR for women 3.22, 95% CI 3.07-3.37), Latin America and the Caribbean (OR for men 2.18, 95% CI 2.08-2.30; OR for women 2.40, 95% CI: 2.29-2.52), and sub-Saharan Africa (OR for men 2.31, 95% CI 2.17-2.45; OR for women 1.83, 95% CI 1.72-1.95). Increased risk became evident at an early age (35-49 years) and was equally high or higher among women as compared with men. Lower socio-economic status and greater time living in Canada were also associated with increased risk for diabetes.
Recent immigrants, particularly women and immigrants of South Asian and African origin, are at high risk for diabetes compared with long-term residents of Ontario. This risk becomes evident at an early age, suggesting that effective programs for prevention of diabetes should be developed and targeted to immigrants in all age groups.
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This study examines the effects of age and sex on the relationship between neighborhood income and alcohol-related hospitalization rates in a large urban area.
Adults in Toronto, Canada, who were hospitalized with an alcohol-related condition between 1995 and 1998 were identified using discharge diagnoses. Income quintiles were determined based on area of residence. Annual rates of hospitalization for alcohol-related conditions per 10,000 individuals were calculated.
Rates of hospitalization with a primary diagnosis of an alcohol-related condition were similar among men age 20 to 39 in all incomes quintiles, but were inversely associated with income among men age 40 to 64 (28.8 and 13.3 per 10,000 in the lowest and highest income quintiles). Among women age 40 to 64, the lowest income quintile had the highest hospitalization rate (12.1 per 10,000), but women in all other income quintiles had relatively low hospitalization rates (5.9 to 7.7 per 10,000). As age increased above 65 years, rates of hospitalization with a primary diagnosis of an alcohol-related condition decreased or stabilized in both men and women.
The inverse association between income level and alcohol-related hospitalization rates becomes apparent after age 40. A gradient in hospitalization rates is seen in men across all income levels, but in women a prominent effect is seen only in those with the lowest income.
To evaluate the appropriateness of potential data sources for the population of performance indicators for primary care (PC) practices.
This project was a cross sectional study of 7 multidisciplinary primary care teams in Ontario, Canada. Practices were recruited and 5-7 physicians per practice agreed to participate in the study. Patients of participating physicians (20-30) were recruited sequentially as they presented to attend a visit. Data collection included patient, provider and practice surveys, chart abstraction and linkage to administrative data sets. Matched pairs analysis was used to examine the differences in the observed results for each indicator obtained using multiple data sources.
Seven teams, 41 physicians, 94 associated staff and 998 patients were recruited. The survey response rate was 81% for patients, 93% for physicians and 83% for associated staff. Chart audits were successfully completed on all but 1 patient and linkage to administrative data was successful for all subjects. There were significant differences noted between the data collection methods for many measures. No single method of data collection was best for all outcomes. For most measures of technical quality of care chart audit was the most accurate method of data collection. Patient surveys were more accurate for immunizations, chronic disease advice/information dispensed, some general health promotion items and possibly for medication use. Administrative data appears useful for indicators including chronic disease diagnosis and osteoporosis/ breast screening.
Multiple data collection methods are required for a comprehensive assessment of performance in primary care practices. The choice of which methods are best for any one particular study or quality improvement initiative requires careful consideration of the biases that each method might introduce into the results. In this study, both patients and providers were willing to participate in and consent to, the collection and linkage of information from multiple sources that would be required for such assessments.
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As a result of deinstitutionalization over the past half-century, police have become frontline mental health care workers. This study assessed five-year patterns of police calls for suicidal behavior in Toronto, Canada. Police responded to an average of 1,422 calls for suicidal behavior per year, 15 percent of which involved completed suicides (24 percent of male callers and 8 percent of female callers). Calls for suicidal behavior increased by 4 percent among males and 17 percent among females over the study period. The rate of completed suicides decreased by 22 percent among males and 31 percent among females. Compared with women, men were more likely to die from physical (as opposed to chemical) methods (22 percent and 43 percent, respectively). The study results highlight the importance of understanding changes in patterns and types of suicidal behavior to police training and preparedness.
Few studies have examined the impact of anti-smoking legislation on respiratory or cardiovascular conditions other than acute myocardial infarction. We studied rates of hospital admission attributable to three cardiovascular conditions (acute myocardial infarction, angina, and stroke) and three respiratory conditions (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia or bronchitis) after the implementation of smoking bans.
We calculated crude rates of admission to hospital in Toronto, Ontario, from January 1996 (three years before the first phase of a smoking ban was implemented) to March 2006 (two years after the last phase was implemented. We used an autoregressive integrated moving-average (ARIMA) model to test for a relation between smoking bans and admission rates. We compared our results with similar data from two Ontario municipalities that did not have smoking bans and with conditions (acute cholecystitis, bowel obstruction and appendicitis) that are not known to be related to second-hand smoke.
Crude rates of admission to hospital because of cardiovascular conditions decreased by 39% (95% CI 38%-40%) and admissions because of respiratory conditions decreased by 33% (95% CI 32%-34%) during the ban period affecting restaurant settings. No consistent reductions in these rates were evident after smoking bans affecting other settings. No significant reductions were observed in control cities or for control conditions.
Our results serve to expand the list of health outcomes that may be ameliorated by smoking bans. Further research is needed to establish the types of settings in which smoking bans are most effective. Our results lend legitimacy to efforts to further reduce public exposure to tobacco smoke.
This article examines differences in birth outcomes by neighbourhood income and recent immigration for singleton live births in Toronto, Ontario.
The birth data were extracted from hospital discharge abstracts compiled by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
A population-based cross-sectional study of 143,030 singleton live births to mothers residing in Toronto, Ontario from 1 April 1996 through 31 March 2001 was conducted. Neighbourhood income quintiles of births were constructed after ranking census tracts according to the proportion of their population below Statistics Canada's low-income cutoffs. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for the effects of neighbourhood income quintile and recent immigration on preterm birth, low birthweight and full-term low birthweight, adjusted for infant sex and maternal age.
Low neighbourhood income was associated with a moderately higher risk of preterm birth, low birthweight, and full-term low birthweight. The neighbourhood income gradient was less pronounced among recent immigrants compared with longer-term residents. Recent immigration was associated with a lower risk of preterm birth, but a higher risk of low birthweight and full-term low birthweight.
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael's Hospital, and Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Primary care reform in Ontario, Canada, included the initiation of a blended capitation model in 2001-2002 and an enhanced fee-for-service model in 2003. Both models involve patient rostering, incentives for preventive care and requirements for after-hours care. We evaluated practice characteristics and patterns of care under both models.
Using administrative data, we identified physicians belonging to either the capitation or the enhanced fee-for-service group throughout the period from Sept. 1, 2005, to Aug. 31, 2006, and their enrolled patients. Practices were stratified by location (urban v. rural). We compared the groups in terms of practice characteristics and patterns of care, including comprehensiveness of care, continuity of care, after-hours care, visits to the emergency department and uptake of new patients.
Patients in the capitation and enhanced fee-for-service practices had similar demographic characteristics. Patients in capitation practices had lower morbidity and comorbidity indices. Comprehensiveness and continuity of care were similar between the 2 groups. Compared with patients in enhanced fee-for-service practices, those in capitation practices had less after-hours care (adjusted rate ratio [RR] 0.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.61-0.75) and more visits to emergency departments (adjusted RR 1.20, 95% CI 1.15-1.25). Overall, physicians in the capitation group enrolled fewer new patients than did physicians in the enhanced fee-for-service group (37.0 v. 52.0 per physician); the same was true of new graduates (60.3 v. 72.1 per physician).
Physicians enrolled in the capitation model had different practice characteristics than those in the enhanced fee-for-service model. These characteristics appeared to be pre-existing and not due to enrolment in a new model. Although the capitation model provides an alternative to fee-for-service practice, its characteristics should be the focus of future policy development and research.
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