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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The poor are in poorer health

Not surprising, but the decade from 1996-2009 saw more poor people self-reporting health as poor or fair, and far fewer as very good or excellent.

In a new short report from the Wellesley Institute in Toronto, looking mostly at Toronto residents built on previous work in the area by the Metcalf foundation on working poor and studied their health status. Self-reported health status is one of the questions in the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics allowing for a very simple cross tabulation between those meeting various definitions of poverty and their health status. 

The data are also provided for Canada and Ontario separately, the tables broken down by non-working poor, working poor and working non-poor for comparison sake.

Neat stuff, and amazing the report can take ten pages, but kudos to the Wellesley Institute. At a time when health status reports are being generated that occupy hundreds of pages, a simple analysis of one issue using limited data, presented in clear fashion, may have more impact than the reams of paper generated to measure whole population health status.

For the pure epidemiologist out there who might cringe at how the data was used and analyzed, perhaps there is a lesson in communicating complexity of information.  Simple can be better.   

Worth a look and the question if other routinely collected survey data over at Statistics Canada could be similarly used for punctuating key health messages.  Wellesley Institute declining health of the poor

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