Health care remains a priority on the minds of Canadians but yet there are few discussions about the actual forces shaping the health of the population. Nonetheless, there is an abundance of evidence that suggests that the social determinants of health, i.e. socio-economic indicators such as affordable housing, social equality, education, etc., are equally or more important to health status than medical care and personal health behaviour such as smoking or eating habits. Yet discussions about the health care policy are often overshadowed by discussion about wait times and little else. In a climate of rising health care costs, an impending nurse shortage, across-the-board tax relief and a possible economic slowdown on the horizon, a new discussion is needed when considering government spending priorities and the long-term health of the population.
MP Breakfast - How to Take the Social Determinants of Health Seriously, February 2008