Health inequalities in Canada have widened

| November 19, 2015

A report entitled ‘Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada’ says that the gap between the health of richer and poorer Canadians has widened during the past 10 years, according to a Postmedia News report relayed by the TMA.

The report was issued by the Canadian Institute for Health Information yesterday.

Smoking prevalence is said to be twice as high among people in the lowest income group than it is among those in the highest income group, while the hospitalization rate for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is more than three times as high for those in the lowest income group than it is among people in the highest income group.

These health inequalities are starker than they were 10 years ago when the smoking rate was 1.5 times higher and the COPD hospitalization rate was 2.6 times higher.

And these inequalities are said to be associated with significant costs both to individuals and society through direct health care costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity.

Geoff Hynes, manager of the institute’s population health initiative, said closing the persistent smoking and COPD rate gaps between rich and poor, which would save $21 million in acute care costs, might require more sophisticated health policy measures than were currently in use.

The report is at: https://www.cihi.ca/en/summary_report_inequalities_2015_en.pdf.

Category: Breaking News

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