More evidence showing health connected to income inequality | National Union of Public and General Employees

More evidence showing health connected to income inequality

"Good health is not just about access to physical activities, it is about providing families with access to healthy food, secure housing, decent education and good jobs." — James Clancy, NUPGE National President.

Ottawa (09 Jan. 2015) — A new study byand international team of researchers, and led by McGill University psychologist Frank Elgar, provides further evidence of the link between health and income inequality. 

Good health harder to achieve for youth in lower socio-economic groups

Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health 2002–2010: a time-series analysis of 34 countries participating in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children published in The Lancet indicates that "socio-economic difference across multiple areas of adolescent mental and physical health increased between 2002 and 2010." 

The research shows that young people from the poorest socioeconomic groups are more likely to have poor health due to lack of physical activity and larger body mass. 

Not just exercise that determines good health, says Clancy

"We know that access to organized sports, equipment and recreational facilities is virtually impossible for young people in poorer communities, which contributes to poor health," says James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "But it's also about access to good, healthy foods, secure housing and good jobs for the parents."

"Without these things, education, employment, future health and life expectancies of young people will suffer," continued Clancy.

Health and social policy must address growing income inequality

The study suggests that adolescent health should be a prime factor in determining social and health policy, and that it requires regular monitoring. The study concluded that to reduce the growing gap, "efforts of public health, enlightened political leadership, the economic development sector, empowered communities, and youth themselves" are needed. 

"By letting income inequality continue to grow, we all will be facing serious consequences in the future," said Clancy. "More costs to the health and social support systems, more people in low-paying jobs or unemployed, and more premature deaths. Governments can do something to change this direction. They must, for the sake of our children."


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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