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Ontario women live longer but don't prosper: Study
Date:6/23/2009

TORONTO, Ont., June 23, 2009 While Ontario women live longer than men, a majority are more likely to suffer from disability and chronic conditions, according to a new women's health study by St. Michael's Hospital researcher Dr. Arlene Bierman. What's more, low-income women have more chronic conditions, greater disability and a shorter life expectancy than women in high-income groups.

While inequities in health among men and women have been well documented, the findings strongly suggest that the size of the inequities among women is often larger than the overall differences between men and women.

"Women with less education and low income were found to experience a greater burden of illness overall compared to men and women with higher incomes," said Dr. Bierman. "While we already knew these inequities exist, we are quite startled by just how large the gap is among different groups of women. The good news is that there is much that can be done to close this gap. The inequities we found are associated with chronic disease, so by focusing on chronic disease prevention and management, and improving the living and working conditions that increase the risk of chronic disease, we can improve health outcomes for all women and men."

The joint study, titled POWER (the Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report), from St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), is the first in Ontario to provide a comprehensive overview of women's health in relation to gender, income, education, ethnicity and geography. POWER reports on indicators of population health and of how well the health system is performing. Policymakers and health-care providers may use these research findings to improve access, quality and outcomes of care for Ontario women. The POWER Study was funded by Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Key finding
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Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.toronto.on.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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