Poverty linked to future high health-care costs: CBC

This article from the CBC showcases stories from people living in poverty and medical professionals who work with vulnerable populations. An article in the latest issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine added to the body of evidence of a link between poverty and health care utilization. The researchers found that reducing poverty would assist with health care sustainability and improve health among the most vulnerable.

Link to the CBC article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/poverty-linked-to-future-high-health-care-costs-1.3065822

Link to the journal article (Open Access): http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2815%2900082-3/fulltext

High income inequality tied to poor health

By Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times

This article, reprinted in the Globe and Mail, discusses new evidence from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that inequality at the county level has a considerable impact on health; people in unequal communities were more likely to die before the age of 75 than people in more equal communities, even if the average incomes were the same. The article noted that it is well known that living in a poor community makes you less likely to live a long life, but there is new evidence which suggests that living in a community with high income inequality also seems to be bad for your health.

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/high-income-inequality-tied-to-poor-health/article23743705/

Why Canadian Babies Don’t Sleep in Boxes

We wanted to share this interesting blog post by Cameron Dearlove, which was posted on the Upstream website (http://www.thinkupstream.net/babies_sleeping_in_boxes) and originally appeared on The Community Edition.

The article presents an example of a program from Finland that is universal and showcases how the country’s government invests in early childhood development – the maternity package, which contains supplies all children need in their first year of life. The reader is left with the comparison to Canadian social programs, which tend to be means-tested.

“Today we know that social and financial inequities — particularly the experience of poverty — has a greater impact on our health than our healthcare system, genetics, even lifestyle choices.”

Social determinants need to be included in conversations about disease prevention -Raphael

This article is an opinion piece from the Hamilton Spector in 2014, but is still relevant. This thoughtful piece by Dr. Dennis Raphael discusses how current mainstream discourse about disease prevention (e.g. exclusive emphasis on lifestyle choices like tobacco cessation, exercise, etc.) ignores root causes such as poverty and poor working conditions. Raphael points out that “deprivation over the life course is strongly related to the incidence of such diverse afflictions as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, emphysema, kidney and lung disease, osteoporosis, lupus and mental health problems such as depression and suicide.”

Link: http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4405922-why-are-canadians-not-being-told-the-truth-about-disease-/

New research about impact of poverty in Saskatoon Health Region

A new report by the Public Health Observatory of the Saskatoon Health Region discusses the need to address health inequities in the city. Residents living in lower-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods of Saskatoon tend to have lower life expectancies and poorer health (e.g. diabetes, injuries, and heart disease) compared to neighbourhoods with less deprivation.  For example, people living in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods of the city have a life expectancy at birth of only 76 years, compared to 85 years in the most advantaged neighbourhoods. These health gaps have been persistent over the years.

Media article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/effects-of-poverty-in-saskatoon-are-illness-and-death-1.2685727

More information is available on the CommunityView Collaboration website: http://www.communityview.ca/infographic_SHR_health_equity_2014.html