Health Promotion Survey (HPS)

Detailed information for 1985




Every 5 years

Record number:


The purpose of this survey is to assist Health Canada in planning programs to encourage Canadians to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Data release - April 19, 1989


The Health Promotion Survey was conducted by Statistics Canada in June 1985, for the Department of Health and Welfare. The major objective of the survey was to collect information on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of Canadians about health issues.

The Department of Health and Welfare were interested in collecting this information to assist them in planning programs to encourage Canadians to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. This was the first Health Promotion Survey to be conducted and was intended to provide baseline information on current attitudes and behaviours. It is planned that this survey will be repeated in approximately three years to evaluate programs initiated by Health and Welfare Canada.

The major areas for which information was required were alcohol use, smoking, exercise, safety and nutrition.


  • Health
  • Lifestyle and social conditions

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the HPS was all persons 15 years of age or older living in Canada with the following two exceptions:

1. residents of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories;
2. full-time residents of institutions.

Because the HPS was conducted using telephone sampling techniques, households (and thus persons living in households) that do not have telephones were obviously excluded from the surveyed population. This accounts for less than 3% of the total population. However, the survey estimates have been weighted to include persons without telephones.

Instrument design

A screening document was used for each telephone number called for the Health Promotion Survey. The purpose of this document was to first determine whether or not the number called reached a household, and then if so, to list all household members. One household member 15 years of age or over was then selected at random. The Health Promotion Survey was then conducted with this selected person by telephone.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The Health Promotion Survey employed Random Digit Dialling sampling techniques. For the ten provinces, the Waksberg Method was used.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: June 3, 1985 to June 21, 1985

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Interviews were conducted from Statistics Canada's eight Regional Offices plus an additional office set up specifically for the Yukon component in Whitehorse, from June 3 -- 21, 1985. In some offices, the 21st deadline was extended in order that more of the outstanding calls could be resolved.

All interviews were conducted between 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time during week days. Interviews were conducted on Saturday during the day as well.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

Following data capture, all survey records were subjected to an exhaustive computer edit. Partial non-response, flow pattern errors and abnormally high or low responses were identified. Records with missing or incorrect data were assigned non-response codes or in some cases, imputed from other areas from the same questionnaire. The one exception to this was the selected person's age and sex. In some cases these variables were imputed from another record (i.e. a donor record) on the Health Promotion Survey file.


The principle behind the estimation procedure when a probability sample is used, as was used for the Health Promotion Survey, is that each person selected in the sample 'represents', besides himself/herself, several other persons not in the sample. For example, in a simple random sample of 2% of the population, each person in the sample represents 50 persons in the population.

For the microdata file that was created for the Health Promotion Survey, there is one record for each person who responded to the survey. Each record contains demographic characteristics about the selected person as well as their health information. Instead of physically duplicating the sample records according to the number of persons the records represent, an overall weighting factor was placed on each record. The weighting factor refers to the number of times a particular record should be replicated to obtain population estimates. For example, if the number of persons who consider themselves to be in excellent health is to be estimated, this is done by selecting the records on the microdata file who reported that they were in excellent health and summing the weights on these records.

Quality evaluation

Considerable time and effort has been made to reduce non-sampling errors in the HPS. Quality assurance measures have been implemented at each step of the data collection and processing cycle to monitor the quality of the data. These measures include the use of highly skilled interviewers, extensive training of interviewers with respect to the HPS procedures and questionnaires, observation of interviewers to detect problems of questionnaire design or misunderstanding of instructions, procedures to ensure that data capture errors are minimized and coding and edit quality checks to verify the processing logic. Despite these efforts non-sampling error is bound to have some impact on HPS estimates.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

These data are preliminary and will be revised on a monthly basis.

Data accuracy

For the Health Promotion Survey, 1985 the response rate for the 10 provinces was 81%.

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