Unhealthy situations [poverty]
OttawaCitizen.com – Health
August 23, 2010
The evidence is increasingly clear: being poor in Canada can make you sick. The latest proof, from Statistics Canada, shows a connection between Type 2 diabetes, in women, and low household income and education.
The study, The Role of Socio-Economic Status in the Incidence of Diabetes, tracked the health of more than 17,000 Canadians for a year. The authors found that women in poorer households were significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than other women, even when other contributing factors, such as weight and ethnic origin, were factored in.
This is the second major report linking poor health outcomes in Canada with poverty in the past month.
A study released earlier found that cancer patients from poorer communities in Ontario have a greater chance of dying prematurely than those from wealthier backgrounds.
Such findings will surprise no one who works in healthcare in Canada’s poorer regions and communities. But even though the link between socio-economic status and health is undeniable, it still presents a challenge to the health-care system. We know the problem, but haven’t found the solution.
In poorer rural parts of Ontario, for example, isolation and lack of access can be the biggest barriers to good treatment. Telling people to move into the city isn’t an option, and neither is building hospitals in sparsely populated areas.
What is certain, though, is that health literacy is crucial. Indeed, the connection between low education and bad health suggests that education itself is a kind of preventative medicine. A well-educated society is a strong society, in more ways than one.
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