Why Canadians outlive Americans, and why we shouldn’t be so satisfied

The social determinants of health are all over this Globe and Mail piece:

"Beyond medical care, we need to address further how social conditions shape health. The countries outperforming us make effective social investments to promote health and well-being among children and adults alike. Just to name two: they provide job protected paid leave from work to meet health needs, and overwhelmingly, they ensure children receive early childhood education."

Image by Ralf Heß, text added.


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We also need to teach our kids to be active citizens

Do you give to the food bank? Awesome! Now check out this great post by Trish Garner from BC Poverty Reduction about how to 'upstream' that action. (Especially if you live in BC or SK, the last provinces without a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.)

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Time to leave GDP behind

Great article from Nature on how it's time to drop the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of success and adopt a new metric.

"GDP measures mainly market transactions. It ignores social costs, environmental impacts and income inequality. If a business used GDP-style accounting, it would aim to maximize gross revenue — even at the expense of profitability, efficiency, sustainability or flexibility. That is hardly smart or sustainable (think Enron). Yet since the end of the Second World War, promoting GDP growth has remained the primary national policy goal in almost every country"


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How poverty is killing us

John Millar and Laurel Rothman for iPolitics.ca on how poverty affects the health of us all, with those living in poverty bearing the brunt of it.

"Here’s what the evidence tells us. The stress of worrying about the basics of life lowers the body’s defences against disease. As a result, we see a higher and increasing prevalence of all diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, mental illness, addictions and others) among those who are worst-off, right across the income gradient."

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The majority of Ontario residents think poverty—and privilege—are contributing to ill health

Good news: a recent study by Toronto's Centre for Research on Inner-City Health finds that the majority of Ontario residents correctly believe that poverty is a major contributor to ill health.

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Coalition launches campaign to reduce Sask. poverty

By Jason Warick, The StarPhoenix

Poverty doesn't just hurt those who experience it. Poverty places a huge burden on the province's health care, education and justice systems.

Reducing poverty could save Saskatchewan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year and give a multi billion dollar boost to the economy.

That's the main message from a coalition of Saskatchewan community groups launching their "Cost of Poverty" campaign today.

"We want this province to be a prosperous place for everyone," said Alison Robertson, director of community development for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

Continue reading at www.thestarphoenix.com.

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No room for shaming in public health system

In a recent article, Nova Scotia’s Health Minister, Leo Glavine, floated the idea that people should have to demonstrate healthy lifestyles before accessing our health care system, much like a bank assesses a customer for a loan.

Sadly, this is not a new idea but has been floated by others pundits and politicos over the years, often couched in the language of practicality and common sense. Healthcare is a privilege to be earned, not a right, they lobby.

Healthcare just for the healthy, in other words. Here’s why such an idea would fail — for all of us.

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Alternative Federal Budget 2014: Striking a Better Balance


The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives presents an alternative federal budget, one that "shows what the federal government could do if it decided to seriously address Canadians’ largest social, economic, and environmental concerns." 

What do you think we should be focusing on? 

Read the CCPA's Alternative Budget report.

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Why racism is a public health issue


Ranking among the social determinants of health are issues of equality and diversity. Your experience of inequality, because of things like gender, race, and sexual orientation, can have a serious impact on your health outcomes. 

This article, set in an American context, argues that racism is at the core of health disparities in African American populations. How do you think this relate to health inequity here in Canada?

Read "Why racism is a public health issue" at ThinkProgress.

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Better daycare for $7/day: One province's solution for Canada


Via The Globe and Mail.

"Quebec’s program is about more than just affordable daily care. It is a wildly ambitious experiment in society-building – a controversial $2.2-billion bet that better daycare can not only transform child development but also vastly improve the prospects of women and the poor, and build a better labour force."

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Connect upstream.