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Whistler tops provincial health survey in binge drinking, physical activity

My Health, My Community survey administered in 30 communities across B.C.



The results are in from the largest community health survey in B.C.’s history, and they highlight something most Whistlerites are already well aware of: We love to party almost as much as we love being active.

The My Community, My Health survey was administered by health authorities in 30 communities across the province, and Whistler was tops in several categories, including binge drinking, physical activity and sense of community belonging.

In all, 43 per cent of respondents reported binge drinking one or more times a month, well above the 27.6-per-cent average for the Coastal Rural region and nearly double the rate for Metro Vancouver respondents.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks at a time for men, and at least four for women.

The troubling trend around alcohol consumption in the community is no doubt bolstered by the youthful nature of the population — 51 per cent of residents are between the ages of 18 and 34 — as well as Whistler’s vibrant nightlife and reputation for partying.

Squamish also reported a high level of alcohol consumption, with about a third of respondents reporting they binge drink at least once a month.

On the flipside, Whistler was the most active community in the province, with 68.9 per cent of those surveyed saying they engage in 150 minutes or more of physical activity a week. The average for the Coastal Rural region was 57 per cent.

These figures can be linked to the low prevalence of obesity, smoking and self-reported chronic disease in the resort. Whistler was also near the tops of the list in terms of fruit and vegetable consumption, with 36 per cent saying they eat at least five servings a day. Only Bowen Island residents reported higher consumption rates.

Whistler was worst in the province when it came to emergency preparedness, with only 17.3 per cent of respondents saying they were adequately equipped to survive three days on their own in the event of a disaster.

At 82.3 per cent, the resort reported the greatest sense of community belonging in the survey, compared to 70.9 per cent in Squamish and only 53.8 per cent in Vancouver.

There were roughly 100 questions in all asked by the survey of 33,000 residents covered by the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities, administered between June 2013 and July 2014. Questions tackled everything from health behaviours, community resiliency and transportation methods.

For further results, check back in with Pique this Thursday.

The entire report will also be posted online at later today.