Ministry: Arabs, Jews in lower classes suffer poorer health

Report issued to help decision-makers choose target populations for intervention and reduce the health gaps among them.

hospital 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
hospital 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The lower the socioeconomic status of Israelis – whether Jewish or Arab – the more likely they are to suffer from poorer health than those of higher incomes and education levels, according to a study on “Gaps in health and social peripheries” released for publication by the Health Ministry on Tuesday.
The report, which is more than 200 pages long and contains a large amount of statistical material, was issued to help decision-makers and directors of various health organizations to choose target populations for intervention and reduce the health gaps among them.
Those of low socioeconomic status do not have to live in the periphery of the country to be included in this group, the report said.
They may live in the center of the country but be included in Israel’s “social periphery.”
The functioning of poorer Arab populations in taking care of their health is a bit lower than in the Jewish population of the same socioeconomic levels, but the health condition of the two sectors is very similar, the report found. Thus the statistics show that the health condition of Jewish and Arabs can be compared socioeconomically rather than culturally, it said, adding that income and education is more relevant to health levels than being part of one cultural or ethnic group than another.
The government has committed itself to reduce inequity in the society, first beginning with the mapping of problems that block improvement and then finding ways to overcome these blockages, the report said.
Therefore the socioeconomically weak will eventually be able to enter higher educational institutions, become integrated into better jobs and adopt a more productive and healthy lifestyle.