Dennis.Raphael at mail.atkinson.yorku.ca
Thu Apr 10 09:10:19 PDT 2003
The Record (Waterloo Region)
Local, Thursday, April 10, 2003, p. B6
Income has biggest impact on health, professor says
WATERLOO - An ambulance pulls up to the emergency room doors with a patient
suffering a heart attack inside. Is the patient a Bay Street trader or a
from a lower-class area?
While many would pick the high stress trader as the prime candidate, it's
likely the patient is from a lower socio-economic class, Dr. Dennis Raphael
group of about 25 people yesterday at the University of Waterloo.
"There's a perception out there that heart disease is a middle-class disease,
When it comes to almost any medical condition, income is the number-one
of health, the associate professor in the school of health policy and
York University explained. That smashes the myth, Raphael said, that exercise,
nutrition and not smoking are the keys to good health.
"It's not lifestyle, although it certainly doesn't help to be doing these
Countless studies and reports have proven a person's level of wealth dictates
of health, Raphael said. But despite the facts, he said, the government and
officials continue to state that lifestyle is the major factor in good health.
"The dominant message being put out is you are responsible for the state of
health," he said.
Raphael said that becomes particularly problematic when considering people who
poor. Is it not unreasonable, he asked, to expect a cab driver working 14
hours a day
to exercise when he gets home?
"You end up blaming them for their own problems."
If the government wants to improve society's overall health and the burden on
health care system, it would be better to address poverty. Improving funding
programs like affordable housing and welfare would have significant trickle
effects for the whole system, he said.
Currently the government is misplacing funding and only adding to the problem,
Raphael argued. Rather than funding breakfast programs for children not
getting a meal
at home, why doesn't the government give a mother an extra five dollars so she
her own cereal.
"The solution is to give them enough money so they don't run out of food," he
pointing to the need for more efficient funding.
The government has repeatedly acknowledged the effect of social factors on
so far it has done little to implement change, Raphael said.
It's a stagnation Denise Wamsley feels personally. As a program developer with
Opportunities 2000, a local anti-poverty group, she's continually lobbied
to raise the standard of living.
The research is there to support such a move, Wamsley said. It's just a
convincing policy makers to do something.
"The process of change is so long," she said with evident frustration.
nmacintyre at therecord.com
Uniform subject(s): Diseases, therapy and prevention; Health and social
Laws and regulations
Story type(s): News
Length: Medium, 368 words
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? 2003 The Record (Waterloo Region). All rights reserved.
Dennis Raphael, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Undergraduate Programme Director
School of Health Policy & Management
Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies
4700 Keele St.
Toronto ON M3J 1P3
Ph: 416-736-2100 ext. 22134
E-mail: draphael at yorku.ca
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