Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Why doctors should screen for poverty

From the 4 April 2012 blog post by NAHEED DOSANI, MD AND JEREMY PETCH at

…Bloch points to a growing body of research evidence showing the impact of financial struggle on the risk of a variety of diseases (this research is largely Canadian, so US statistics will differ, though the themes are likely similar):

Cardiovascular disease: there is a 17% higher rate of circulatory conditions among the lowest income quintile versus the average
Diabetes: prevalence among the lowest income quintile is more than double the rate in the highest income quintile
Mental Illness: the suicide-attempt rate of those living on social assistance is 18 times higher than higher-income individuals
Cancer: low-income women are less likely to access screening interventions like mammograms or Pap Smears
Development: infant mortality is 60% higher in the lowest income quintile neighborhoods
Regardless of this compelling evidence, why is there a need to screen for poverty? “Simply because we don’t know which patients live in poverty and if we don’t ask, we won’t find out,” says Dr. Bloch.  Since the recession of 2008, many hard-working people have been squeezed out of the middle class.  A November 2011 report by Wider Opportunities for Women entitled, “Living Below the Line,” highlighted the fact that nearly half of Americans struggle to make ends meet. …


April 4, 2012 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , ,

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