Childhood poverty, not individual lifestyle, is a more accurate predictor of heart and other diseases no matter how healthy and wealthy you become as an adult. Health inequalities are due to differences in living conditions, and living conditions are determined by social policy. The U.S. spends only 14% of GDP on social and public spending, comparing poorly with other developed countries.
Mr. Raphael is professor of health policy at the School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto. He researches the affects of poverty and diversity on health in North America and he is an expert on determinants of health.