Poverty is the major reasons for the ill health of the people. As per recent survey worldwide about 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty. This is because of the following factors:
- Due to poverty, people are not able to buy sufficient food. This leads to deficiency diseases and ruins the health of the people.
- Poor people have little or no access to safe housing, clean water, and basic toilet facilities. The live in unclean and unhygienic surroundings which are breeding ground for disease-causing germs. In this way, poverty helps in spreading diseases and damaging good health.
- Educational levels in poor areas are often low. They do not know about the factors causing diseases balance diet and precautions for preventing diseases. Education is not available in poor areas. If schools are there, many children may not be able to attend because they must work to support their families.
- Poor people are not able to get the best available medical treatment because of which diseases linger on for a long time.
- Illiterate poor people do not understand the harmful effects of tobacco and drinking alcohol. This ruins their health and economic condition.
Poor people have a shorter life expectancy than wealthier people. More mothers and children die in poor areas. Each year 9.7 million children worldwide die before their fifth birthday.
Infectious diseases of all types are present in poor areas. Limited sewage and waste treatment infections spread more easily including infections spread by insects.
Children and adults who live in poverty have poor nutrition including vitamin deficiencies and protein-caloric malnutrition which affects mental functioning and physical health.
Thus poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health.