04/20/2016 10:31 EDT | Updated 04/21/2017 05:12 EDT

Health Quality Ontario Warns Poor People Have Shorter Lifespans

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TORONTO — Health Quality Ontario says the poorer people are, the more likely they are to have shorter lifespans and to suffer from multiple chronic conditions.

It says men living in the poorest neighbourhoods die, on average, more than four years earlier than the men in rich areas, while women in poorer areas die an average of two years earlier than wealthier women.

A report from the agency that advises the government on the quality of health care also shows the poorest 20 per cent of people are nearly twice as likely as the richest 20 per cent to have two or more chronic conditions.

It found about 60 per cent of the poorest people have insurance for prescription medications, compared with nearly 90 per cent of the wealthiest people.

Poor people "pay for their lower income with their health."

Half the people living in the poorest urban neighbourhoods are overdue for colorectal cancer screening, compared with just over one-third in wealthier areas.

Joshua Tepper, president and CEO of Health Quality Ontario, says poor people "pay for their lower income with their health."

"This report not only highlights the data, but also the experiences of people in Ontario facing income-related health inequities," Tepper said in a release.

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