Income is the great divide when it comes to Canadians’ health

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Anewpublicopinionsurveycarriedout for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) indicates that the health of Canadians is increasingly being affected by how much money they earn. Lower income groups reported poorer health and greater use of health services than those with higher incomes. In describing their health, only 39% of those earning <$30,000 a year said it was excellent or very good, compared to 68% of those earning ≥$60,000. This gap represents 29 percentage points whereas the gap represented only 17 points in 2009. The poll also found a disparity in the impact of the economy on Canadians’ ability to take care of their health; of those with household incomes <$30,000 a year, 46% reported that they have spent less time, energy, and money on sustaining their health as a result of the economic downturn compared to only 19% earning ≥$60,000. “When it comes to the well- being of Canadians, the old saying that wealth equals health continues to ring true,” said Dr. John Haggie, president of the CMA. “What is particularly worrisome for Canada’s doctors is that in a nation as prosperous as Canada, the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ appears to be widening.”

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