Friday, October 4, 2013

What is the major positive influence on good health?

"Something to do; someone to love; something to hope for."

We know how to keep our health: exercise; eat healthy, mostly plants; watch your weight; keep active; sleep well; take appropriate medications.

Social Determinants

The root cause of poor health revolves around social determinants: poverty and the lack of education, low income, eating poorly during early childhood development, illiteracy around health issues, domestic violence, lack of access to pharmaceuticals, poor housing conditions, lack of employment or poor working conditions.

Several themes from the town hall meetings were summarized by CMA President Dr. Anna Reid:
• Poverty is the most important issue and must be addressed.
• Poverty can cause multiple morbidities and even influence early childhood neurologic development.
• Mental health issues remain “the elephant in the room” and underlie many of the social determinants of health.
• Governments need to be pressured to take action, but there is a clear role for citizens, physicians and communities to help deal with the problems.
• The capacity of non-profit organizations to help is reaching the breaking point.
• There is a link between a healthy society and a healthy economy.
• Social initiatives need specific funding and should be viewed as investments.
• There is a need to look at why society is willing to accept disparities.
• Social inequities are a major cause of stress and insecurity.
• The medical profession has the authority and voice to take leadership on these issues.
• Canadian society has suffered from a lack of imagination, will and leadership to address social inequities.
• The guaranteed annual income is a compelling concept and can have a positive impact on health outcomes.
• Structural racism keeps Aboriginal people in poverty; this must be addressed to improve health outcomes for these communities.
 CMA -- To improve health, tackle poverty

Dr. Anna Reid, president of the Canadian Medical Association, says income was the number one reason for what makes people sick.

Read more

Mikkonen J, Raphael D. Social determinants of health: the
Canadian facts. Toronto (ON): York University School of
Health Policy and Management; 2010. Available PDF

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