Association of Ontario Health Centres
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As daily decisions made amid unhealthy environments pile up, our chances of becoming sick increase. Then we head to the doctor's office or hospital. It is ironic that we continue to call ours a health-care system, when in reality it only takes care of us when we are already sick.
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The City of Toronto is currently being asked to make a 2.6 per cent cut on public health, recreation, transit, childcare, affordable housing and everything else. This would almost certainly mean a reduction in services that promote health and well-being. Blanket cuts may balance the books, but the impacts are not equitable.
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Food insecurity -- the inability to afford sufficient food because of inadequate income -- is a health equity issue. It affects individuals' health in the short term but has long-term impacts: children from food insecure households are more likely to have poor physical and mental health, are more likely to go to the hospital, and have poorer academic performance and cognitive outcomes in later life.
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While the incomes of Canada's wealthiest are increasing, the absolute wealth of our poorest is decreasing. As this gap grows, so too do the differences in people's health risks, care and outcome. The poorer people are in Ontario, the more likely they are to have shorter lifespans, to be overdue for screening tests and to suffer from multiple chronic health conditions.
Canada's current patchwork of child care does not meet the needs of Canadian families. The new federal government has shown an understanding of the importance of improving our child care for the health and well-being of children and their parents.
The success of Airbnb and Uber -- two of the largest sharing economy platforms -- stems from their ability to offer lower prices for consumers, lower barriers to entry for service providers, work flexibility, and ease of connecting with renters/users. But what's behind the bargains seems to be posing potential health risks for service providers and service users alike. The sharing economy is not generating what would be considered to be "good" jobs.
There is no easy and straightforward way to surrender our collective obsession with fat. But here are some of the strategies that point the way. Regulation, used properly, has a role in such efforts. First, the prejudice against fat people needs to end. We need to accept individuals of many shape and sizes; judging them by their qualifications and not their weight.