I believe that the study of the social determinants of health offers our best chance to create a sustainable healthcare system. How? By minimizing health costs with a focus on creating a more equal society and ensuring people have the tools they need to succeed. It may be the key to mobilizing communities to seek change, through a strong understanding of the true (economic, social, individual) costs of poverty.
But health is only one area of our lives that poverty can impact. Poverty impacts across ages and measures. To understand the true costs of poverty we need to widen the lens to consider the social determinants of everything.
Here is a piece I wrote published in today’s Waterloo Region Record:
Your income has a greater impact on your health than lifestyle choicesBy Cameron Dearlove
If you’re worried about taxes, if you’re worried about the costs of health and social spending, this is for you.
As government treasuries continue to get squeezed with declining revenues and increasing costs, and middle-class families struggle with greater financial pressures and a tough labour market, people fret more over taxes.
The knee-jerk response to these pressures is to cut spending and put off investments in health care and social programs. But the data is in: the best way to control health and social spending is not through cuts, but by tackling inequality, fighting poverty, and investing in healthy communities for our children.
The study of the social determinants of health provides us with the best opportunity for reining in long-term health costs. The social determinants are the economic and social conditions that determine the health of individuals and communities. Research has shown that economic and social conditions are more important factors in determining health than individual and family behaviour.
Put simply, your income has a greater impact on your health than lifestyle choices.
Click here to read the full article.