The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) produces population-based estimates of chronic disease prevalence and incidence using administrative health data. Our aim was to assess trends in incidence rates over time, trends are essential to understand changes in population risk and to inform policy development.
Incident cases of diagnosed asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and stroke were obtained from the CCDSS online infobase for 1999 to 2012. Trends in national and regional incidence estimates were tested using a negative binomial regression model with year as a linear predictor. Subsequently, models with year as a restricted cubic spline were used to test for departures from linearity using the likelihood ratio test. Age and sex were covariates in all models.
Based on the models with year as a linear predictor, national incidence rates were estimated to have decreased over time for all diseases, except diabetes; regional incidence rates for most diseases and regions were also estimated to have decreased. However, likelihood ratio tests revealed statistically significant departures from a linear year effect for many diseases and regions, particularly for hypertension.
Chronic disease incidence estimates based on CCDSS data are decreasing over time, but not at a constant rate. Further investigations are needed to assess if this decrease is associated with changes in health status, data quality, or physician practices. As well, population characteristics that may influence changing incidence trends also require exploration.