Saturday, August 22, 2009

Economic Downturn May Leave Major Health Problems in its Wake

The current economic downturn, most specifically the nation’s home foreclosure epidemic, appears to be taking its toll on Americans’ health as well as their wallets. A study was done of those people undergoing foreclosure which reported that nearly half of them showed serious signs of depression. A full 37 percent met clinical screening criteria for major depression.

This study was done by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and was published online this week in the American Journal of Public Health. Many of those studied also reported an inability to afford prescription drugs; many also described poor eating habits, including skipping meals.

“The foreclosure crisis is also a health crisis,” says lead author Craig E. Pollack, MD, who conducted the research while working as an internist at Penn. “We need to do more to ensure that if people lose their homes, they don’t also lose their health.”

In addition to the high number of participants reporting depression symptoms, the study of 250 Philadelphia homeowners undergoing foreclosure also shed light on other health care problems that may be spurred by difficulties keeping up with housing costs. The authors say that the data collected in Philadelphia may be only the tip of the iceberg when compared to other cities that have experienced a sharp spike in housing foreclosures.


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