18 February 2009

Where the Hell have these "researchers" been?!

That the quality of life between women and men differs as they age and that women's health disproportionately deteriorates with age comes as no surprise to the hundreds of researchers who have been crying the clarion call for decades about the social determinants of health.

Yet politicians continue to ignore the facts. The results of this ostrich attitude include an overburdened acute care system and people suffering from poor health needlessly.

Any SDOH researcher will tell you that i) poverty is associated with poor health and ii) more women than men are poor. Women's health researchers have provided countless reasons why the latter is the case.

Given these well-known facts, a study examining the quality of life between women and men is bound to show women to report being less healthy as they reach their sixties than are men.

It therefore comes as a shock to learn of researchers who, working on behalf of Statistics Canada, never appear to have heard of the SDOH or, more particularly, the association of poverty to health and to women.
[A]t age 65, more women than men said they had more than one chronic condition and women were more likely to need help with activities of daily living, Heather Orpana, a senior researcher at Statistics Canada, and her colleagues found.

"We were interested in this result because men didn't show a similar important decline in that early decade," said Orpana, also an adjunct professor in health psychology at the University of Ottawa.

This study did not look at why, but followup research is exploring whether physical activity levels, life stress, social support or access to health care make a difference....

"It's always interesting when you start to analyze men and women separately," said Orpana. "Quite often you do find important differences that you could not have anticipated."

While the researchers were not expecting to find a difference between the two genders, women tend to report more health conditions than men, she noted.

The SDOH is a huge field, the UN created a Commission on the Social Determinants of Health and Canada is a leader in research on the SDOH.1 Where the hell have these researchers been? On Pluto?

1 As usual, we KNOW a heck of a lot. We're a country swamped in research. Our politicians just don't DO anything about it.

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