In many ways it seems like a no-brainer – as economic tides turn, so does the overall health of the general public.
When an individual’s financial situation worsens, there’s a far greater chance that person’s physical well-being will also take a beating.
Dr. Richard Stanwick, the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s chief medical health officer, highlights his concerns over declining public health tied to the recent recession in his latest annual report.
With money tight, people are under more stress and are less likely to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Making healthy food choices might be simply beyond their means.
Ironically, one of the possible results of poor nutrition is a condition more commonly associated with affluence – obesity.
While wealth can contribute to growing waistlines (think aging baby boomers who grew up in a time of greater abundance), regardless of the root cause, the net impact is a greater chance of chronic diseases such as diabetes, and more pressure on our already over-burdened health-care system.
In Nanaimo, unemployment rates leapt dramatically since the start of the recession, topping out (hopefully) at 16 per cent earlier this year.
There’s no question the overall health of our population took a hit as a result, with more and more people struggling to make ends meet.
In fact, the strength of the economy – often a factor over which we have little control – is tied to far more aspects of our lives that just the bottom line in our bank account.
The warning in Stanwick’s report is yet another reminder that every choice we make requires careful consideration, as everything we do likely has an effect on our long-term physical well-being.