Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 193–197 | Cite as

Health Status of Older Chinese in Canada

Findings from the SF-36 Health Survey
  • Daniel W. L. Lai



Despite the fact that the Chinese belong to the largest visible minority group in Canada, there is little research findings on their health status, particularly the aging adults. This research aimed at bridging the knowledge gap by examining the health status of this population and comparing the health status between the Chinese aging population and the general aging population in Canada.


Secondary data analysis of data obtained from a multi-site study, Health and Well Being of Older Chinese in Canada, and from the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form (SF-36). The SF-36 published scores obtained from the same age cohorts in the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study were used for comparison purposes. Independent samples t-tests were used to compare the statistical significance of the two groups.


Overall, older Chinese-Canadians reported better physical health than all older adults in the Canadian population. However, the older Chinese in all age and gender groups scored lower in the mental component summary (MCS). Despite the age differences, Chinese women reported statistically poorer health than the Chinese men in all of the 8 health domains.


The data are useful for forming baselines for monitoring the effectiveness of future health interventions for this population. Efforts by service providers to address the health needs of older Chinese-Canadian women, the most vulnerable subgroup in this study, are essential. Interventions are also needed to address the poor mental health status in this ethnic minority group.



Bien que les Chinois représentent la plus importante minorité visible au Canada, il existe très peu de données sur leur état de santé, surtout celui des adultes vieillissants. Pour combler cette lacune, nous avons examiné l’état de santé de la population sino-canadienne et comparé l’état de santé de ses membres vieillissants à celui de l’ensemble de la population vieillissante au Canada.


Analyse des données secondaires d’une étude multisite (Health and Well Being of Older Chinese in Canada) et de la version abrégée du questionnaire sur l’état de santé en 36 éléments pour les études des résultats cliniques (SF-36). Pour fins de comparaison, nous avons utilisé les scores publiés du questionnaire SF-36 pour les cohortes du même âge de l’Étude canadienne multicentrique sur l’ostéoporose. Des tests t sur un échantillon indépendant ont ensuite servi à comparer la signification statistique dans les deux groupes.


Globalement, les Sino-Canadiens âgés se disent en meilleure santé physique que les personnes âgées dans l’ensemble de la population canadienne. Cependant, les Chinois âgés, dans tous les groupes d’âge, hommes et femmes, ont obtenu des scores plus faibles à la composante santé mentale du SF-36. Malgré les différences d’âge, les Chinoises étaient statistiquement en moins bonne santé que les Chinois dans les huit domaines de santé évalués.


Ces résultats seront utiles comme données de base pour surveiller l’efficacité des futures interventions sanitaires auprès de la population sino-canadienne âgée. Il est essentiel que les prestateurs de services fassent des efforts pour répondre aux besoins de santé des Chinoises âgées, qui composent le sous-groupe le plus vulnérable de l’étude. Des mesures d’intervention sont également nécessaires en réponse au piètre état de santé mentale dans cette minorité ethnique.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social WorkThe University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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