ADEA Washington Update

Socioeconomics Factor into Canada’s Public Health Policy

(Canada, Dental Health, Oral Health, Public Health) Permanent link   All Posts

CanadaHealthIneqMarie DesMeules is the Director of the Social Determinants of Health Division, part of the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch at the Public Health Agency of Canada. DesMeules helped produce the Key Health Inequalities in Canada report. Canadians are among the healthiest people in the world. However, the report shows that the benefits of good health are not equally enjoyed by all Canadians.

Low socioeconomic status was strongly related to structural drivers of inequity, including poor oral health. Employment status, educational attainment and income level exacerbated the inequities. DesMeules and her team analyzed only one indicator of poor oral health: the inability to chew. The study found the prevalence of inability to chew among adults in the lowest income group was 3.3 times that of adults in the highest income group. Data also indicated that 67% of adults had dental insurance, of which 83.2% was employer-sponsored. “This leaves a large portion of the adult population in Canada relying on out-of-pocket payments for dental care,” according to the study. The state of health inequalities in Canada is available through the Health Inequalities Data Tool, an online interactive database. 

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