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Understanding the impact of money on people's health and wellbeing

24 November 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 21

Poverty causes ill health and suffering throughout the world. Although commonly used as a term to describe those in financial hardship, no single definition is universally accepted (Francis-Devine, 2022). However, in the UK, it is understood by many to describe a situation where household income is 60% lower than the average (Francis-Devine, 2022). The financial hardship of poverty for many people in the UK, therefore, is set within a context of deprivation and loss, because individuals are unable to buy the things needed to function each day.

Historically, research and policy have helped us understand the wide-ranging risks to people's health that come with financial hardship, poverty, and associated deprivation. Poverty affects the location, condition and availability of our home, our ability to access good nutrition and the opportunities we have to engage with our community and sustain relationships with friends and family (World Health Organization, 1995; Dahlgren and Whitehead, 2006; Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, 2019; Marmot et al, 2020). Despite societal measures, including free health care, unemployment, and sickness benefit, provided through the NHS and the Welfare State, poverty and deprivation still causes some people to experience ill health and die younger than their more affluent counterparts (Marmot et al, 2020).

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