Dr. James Dunn makes it clear that wealth not only is a key determinant of a person’s health, but it is stratified so that each economic level outperforms the one before it. That means each layer in the economic pyramid has worse health outcomes than the one above it — not just between the bottom 10 per cent and the top 10 per cent.
Therefore when we look at a country’s mortality rate – and Canada’s is among the top – it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Dunn teaches at McMaster University in Hamilton and is very familiar with where people live in that city based on economic status.
Speaking this week at the Conference Board of Canada’s Summit on Health Care Sustainability, he says if some of the lower socioeconomic neighborhoods in that city were looked at as a country, the mortality rates would rank 155th in the world.
Put another way, if low income was considered a disease causing death, it would rank second in Canada to cancer.