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Economic turmoil is hurting Canadians' health: CMA survey

Twenty-three percent of Canadians say the recession has affected how they take care of their health.

That disturbing information -- that the economy's problems are causing pain not just in our portfolios -- was revealed in new survey results published by the Canadian Medical Association Monday in Saskatoon in the 9th Annual National Report Card on Health Care (PDF).

The survey showed that the "economic downturn" (as the survey euphemistically calls it) has had dire results for Canadians' health.

  • 25% of Canadians cancelled or pushed back a dentist's appointment
  • 16% skipped meals
  • 32% cut back on their food budgets
  • 14% delayed or skipped buying some prescription medications
  • 23% have slept more poorly
  • 22% chose not to join a new sport or recreational activity
  • 10% cancelled or delayed a doctor's appointment
"Governments have ignored tackling the tough issues facing our health care system," outgoing CMA president Dr Robert Ouellet said in a release. "There is a mistaken impression that health care is somehow insulated from today's harsh economic reality. Our polling results show -- that's just not the case."

Dr Ouellet told reporters on Monday the survey results surprised and concerned him.

The stock market's tumble has also affected the Canadian Medical Association's financial health. The organization has trimmed more than $1 million from its operating budget after it saw its investments shrunk by the recession.

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