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January 22, 2001
Toronto's Medical Officer presents State of the City's Health Report
Toronto Public Health --- Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto's Medical Officer of
Health, presents her annual State of the City's Health Report to the Board of
Health today.

The report is an update of health trends in the city and calls for a focus on
the health needs of Toronto's most disadvantaged residents.

Dr. Basrur said the report draws attention to growing economic and social
polarization. "In Toronto today, social and economic inequities must be reduced
by supporting those most in need while protecting the health of the population
as a whole. We can only make a difference in the overall health of all our
citizens if we also make gains in those communities where health outcomes are
likely to be much worse."

The report contains numerous indicators of the negative impact of poverty on
public health. "We cannot afford to be complacent about growing poverty and
homelessness in our city," said Dr. Basrur. "The case must be made that adverse
consequences of social neglect experienced by individuals affect the health of
us all."

Dr. Basrur called on the Board of Health and Toronto City Council to champion
the cause of the health of the city's population, particularly during budget
deliberations. "A balance must be achieved where policy and budget decisions
take into account long-term health implications and social costs."

The report also calls for the Board of Health to advocate for an urban health
focus in provincial and federal policies and funding decisions. "Maintaining
strong public health services brings rewards through lower social and health
costs and an improved quality of life for all residents."

See the background summary of the report's

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