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Large forces affecting health equity: How health equity is affected by societal shifts such as home ownership, rising energy costs, and pension

Dr. Lynn McIntyre, Professor and Chair of Gender and Health, University of Calgary discusses three research studies that reveal the impact of large forces on health equity in Canada. She uses food insecurity, which is defined as a lack of resources or insufficient funds to purchase food, as baseline data for observing the impact of these larger forces. The first study looked at the possible effects of proposed changes to the age of eligibility for Canada Pension, from 65 to 67. The study showed that food insecurity drops 50 per cent among Canadians once they receive their pensions. This provides evidence that increasing the age of pension eligibility will have negative impacts on older people’s health. The second study concerns the correlation between food insecurity and the jump in home heating costs in 1998-99. While food insecurity in Alberta rose more quickly among homeowners than renters, the federal government created an energy tax credit for low income renters, revealing the need for more evidence-based policy. The third study investigated rates of food insecurity among working people, showing that lone parents and people of African descent are most likely to experience food insecurity. Dr. McIntyre states that we can eliminate large public health concerns such as food insecurity through effective research and planning, and implementation of population-targeted interventions.

Use this resource to

  • facilitate discussion about how larger societal forces affect people’s health, through the social determinants of health;
  • learn how research can inform the creation of health-aware public policy; and
  • initiate discussion with community partners about the need to respond to broad public policy that impacts health.

Tags: Community engagement, Food security, Healthy public policy, Income inequality, Intersectoral action, Socioeconomic status , National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, Video

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