Science

Report condemns severe social disparity in access to health care – Sciences et Avenir

The prevalence of chronic diseases, the risk of treatment failure, screening tests… There are social inequalities in the health care system, the French Health Report 2022 released on Wednesday highlights.

From an early age, there are disproportions between children according to the socio-professional category of their parents: twice as many children of workers as children of managers are overweight in a large kindergarten department, Drez notes.

With the same prevalence of vision problems, the children of workers are less likely than the children of managers to wear glasses (31% versus 37%), according to a report by the statistical service of social ministries.

Throughout life, the risk of developing chronic diseases, with the exception of some types of cancer, is higher among the poorest people than among the richest.

Thus, the poorest 10% of French people are 2.8 times more likely to develop diabetes than the richest 10%. The risk of developing chronic liver or pancreatic disease is also 2.4 times higher for the poorest than the richest, and twice as high for mental illness.

Only the case of cancers stands out: they will occur “a little less often in people with the most modest standard of living.” Dries notes that the affluent are “often treated for prostate and breast cancer,” while the humble are treated for lung cancer.

But that can be explained by lesser use of screening tests: in 2019, women aged 50 to 74 who had never had a mammogram were 24% of the richest versus 39% of the most unreliable.

Denial of care also affects the humblest, as highlighted by the medical deserts in certain areas. For DREES, these differences can be partly explained by “different lifestyles depending on social background”.

The most modest diets have fewer fruits and vegetables, with more obesity, the statistical service also notes.

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