Key determinates of health according toHealth Canada (1998a) include income andsocial status, social support networks,education, employment and workingconditions, physical and socialenvironments, biology andGenetic endowment, personalhealth practices and coping skills,healthy child development,and health services
Poverty can affect health in a number of ways. Incomeprovides the prerequisites for health, such as shelter,food, warmth, and the ability to participate in society;living in poverty can cause stress and anxiety whichcan damage people’s health; and low income limitspeoples choices and militates against desirablechanges in behaviour(Benzeval, Judge, & Whitehead, 1995)
Socio-economic status can be measured for both individualsand society. At both levels, important links to health statusseem to appear. At the individual level, for example, personalexperience of poverty may be associated with poorer health.At the population level, societies with less equal distributionsof income may experience worse health than those withmore equal distributions of income.
Within Canada, Wilkins, Adams, and Brancker(1989) found individuals living within the poorest20% of neighbourhoods to be more likely to die ofjust about every disease from which people candie of, than the more well-off. These includedcancers, heart disease, diabetes, and respiratorydiseases among others.
Infant mortality is generally regarded as a criticalindicator of population health. In 1996, the overallCanadian infant mortality rate dropped to below 6per 1,000 live births (from 27.3 in 1960). However,infant mortality rates are lower than average in thehighest-income urban neighbourhoods (4.5 per 1,000live births in 1991) and higher than average in thelowest-income urban neighbourhoods (7.5 per 1,000live births). Moreover, infant mortality rates for theAboriginal population are twice those for the non-Aboriginal population (12 per 1,000 live births in1994).
Families who have financial resources can affordprivate care, Medication, and to help keep everygeneration of their family safer by hiring good homecare, child care, and accessing resources.
A well nourished population contributes to a healthier, moreproductive population, lower health care and social costs,and better quality of life.Inequities in nutritional well-being exist, particularly for thesocio-economically disadvantaged.Food choices are complex decisions which are influenced bya dynamic relationship between individual andenvironmental factors.http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/pol/nutrition_health_agenda-nutrition_virage_sante-eng.php
Only 25% of Canadians with low incomes have dentalinsurance and only 45% will visit a dentist in a givenyearThe prescription drug costs of 1 in 3 Canadians arenot covered by government plans or employeebenefits.
Poverty directly harms the health of those with lowincomes while income inequality affects the health ofall Canadians through the weakening of socialinfrastructure and the destruction of social cohesionIt has been known for many decades that theprofound improvements in health in Canada and otherindustrialized countries have primarily been due not toadvances in medicine or health care but rather in thekind of societies in which we live.The CSJ Foundation for Research and Education Toronto
RESOURCEShttp://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-005-x/2004002/4060825-eng.htm#4http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/income_food_sec-sec_alim-eng.phpThe CSJ Foundation for Research and EducationToronto June 2002 Poverty, Income Inequality, and Health in Canada iiiDr. Dennis RaphaelSchool of Health Policy and Management York Universityhttp://www.socialjustice.org/uploads/pubs/PovertyIncomeInequalityandHealthinCanada.pdfhttp://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/pol/nutrition_health_agenda-nutrition_virage_sante-eng.phPoverty and Policy in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life By Dennis RaphaelIncome segregation, income inequality and mortality in North American metropolitan areasNancy A. Ross, Karla Nobrega and James Dunn