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Minerva Medicolegale 2014 September;134(3):145-8

Copyright © 2014 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

How to withstand the crisis without a negative impact

Costa G. 1, Marra M. 2

1 Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Biologiche, Università di Torino, Torino, Italia; 2 Servizio di epidemiologia, ASLTO3, Regione Piemonte, Torino, Italia


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The economic crisis has not had so far a wide impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of the Italian population. Health indicators and data on the main determinants of health have not revealed that set of conditions and risk factors normally associated with the big economic recessions of the past (as a wide epidemiologic literature has recently proven). Self-perceived health indicators have not decreased, additional behavioral risk factors have not been adopted and mental health related problems have slightly worsened, but not as much as they have in other European countries. The National Health Service seems to have withstood the situation well enough and, even if austerity measures have been introduced, the dreaded out of pocket explosion has not happened. Finally, health inequalities have not widened so far. It is plausible to think that other consequences will come: available health data catch only short term effects, whereas some determinants will need more time to reveal their impact, for example unemployment and poverty (both on the rise). Besides, vulnerable groups increasing health demands are not being recorded by monitoring the health system. Nevertheless, the situation is not as bad as expected. The only serious effect recorded until now is that people take care of their dental health less often, due to its high costs. Understanding why the Italian Health System has withstood the economic crisis better that other national systems is an interesting issue that should be addressed by social epidemiology in the next years.

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