This week, the Canadian Medical Association held their annual meeting in Yellowknife, YT and released their 12th Annual National Report Card on Health Care. Among the report’s key findings:
- Canadians with lower incomes (household income
under $30,000 per year) and lower levels of education are less likely to say
they are in excellent health.
- Canadians with lower incomes and education
levels are more likely to report being overweight, that their children are
overweight and that they need to improve their eating habits.
- Awareness levels of the benefits of healthy eating are high but there are barriers to eating healthy.
In December 2010, we released Stepping It Up: Moving the Focus from Health Care in Canada to a Healthier Canada. The report noted that lower income Canadians are twice as likely to use health care services as those with the highest incomes and they are also more likely to suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, to live with a disability, to be hospitalized for a variety of health problems, to suffer from mental distress and to die earlier.
Addressing the social determinants of health will require integrated government action, coordination across departments and agencies and across all levels of government, as well as collaboration with communities, researchers, and the non-profit and private sectors.
Spending on acute care and programs that encourage a healthy lifestyle are not enough to improve the overall health of Canadians, particularly those who live in or close to poverty. For a healthier and more productive population, we really need to focus on reducing inequities.
- CMA Press Release: Income is the Great Divide When it Comes to Canadians' Health
- The Globe and Mail: Health status of poor deteriorating, poll shows
- The Toronto Star: Health status of poor deteriorating, poll shows
- NationTalk: CMA poll finds "worrisome" gap in income-related health status