Recognizing Poverty’s Impact on Health

Categories: Research.

Anna Reid, president of the CMA, simply puts “poverty makes people sick.” Studies show that those living in poverty have a lower life expectancy and a higher disease burden than those who are wealthy. For example, a study done in Hamilton, ON found that the life expectancy of residents in low-income areas was 62 while in wealthy areas the life expectancy was 83.These factors lead to higher rates of hospitalization for the poor, something that could be avoided with improved access to primary care according to Reid. Reid argues that the current twenty per cent of health care spending that accounts for caring for disease can be traced back to low incomes and sub standard housing. Specifically, low socioeconomic status has been as a strong predictor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The CMA left the APAPC with seven recommendations for governments to work towards improving health outcomes.  The APAPC party agreed to bring the CMA’s fifth recommendation, to recognize “the importance of economic and social determinants of health”, to party leaders.

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