Project Big Life

Big Data

At the heart of Project Big Life are algorithms that predict the risk of developing diseases, dying, or using healthcare. There are three types of predictions at Project Big Life:

  • Risk of developing diseases and life expectancy
  • Risk of dying if you are near the end of your life
  • Diet quality

Doug Manuel

Peter Tanuseputro

At the heart of Project Big Life are algorithms that predict the risk of developing diseases, dying, or using healthcare. There are three types of predictions at Project Big Life:

  • Risk of developing diseases and life expectancy
  • Risk of dying if you are near the end of your life
  • Diet quality

Big data = precision health

Project Big Life algorithms are developed using Canadian big health data that is routinely-collected by Statistics Canada and provincial health agencies. The 'big data' approach enables an effective ability to develop precision health algorithms. Algorithms at Project Big Life can accurately assess risk for groups of people with distinct characteristics or health profiles—including situations where a health profile represents only a fraction of the overall population.

Calculators for the risk of chronic diseases and life expectancy

Disease and life expectancy algorithms start with data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), which asks people questions about their general health and lifestyle (smoking, alcohol, diet and physical activity). Continuously collected since 2001, the CCHS has over 1 million respondents—one of the largest surveys of its kind worldwide.What is even more unique is the ability to follow survey respondents over time. Respondents to Statistics Canada’s health surveys have generously given permission to link their responses to their health records—providing researchers with a unique resource to examine how healthy living affects future health. How unique? Physicians, nurses, health planners and others use ProjectBig Life algorithms in their work (and personal life) because there is no other source of information that better reflects healthy living in the diverse Canadian population.