Social Determinants of Health

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Social determinants of health are a fact that creates physical and social environments that promote good health for all. These are linked to the social and economic conditions and their distribution among the population that influence individual and group differences in health status. They are health-promoting factors found in one’s working and living conditions like the distribution of wealth, power, income and influence, rather than individual risk factors (behavioral risk genetics and factors) that influence them for a disease or vulnerability to injury or disease. The distributions of social determinants are bent by public policies which reflect the influence of prevailing political ideologies of those governing a jurisdiction.

Social Determinants of Health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, learn, live, work, worship, play, and age that affect a wide range of functioning, health, and quality of life risks and outcomes. The conditions include in various environments and setting such as church, school, workplace, and neighborhood have been referred to as “place”. In more material attributes of “place”, the patterns of a sense of security and social engagement and well-being are also affected by where people live. There are resources which enhance the quality of life can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples of these resources include safe and affordable housing, public safety, local health or emergency services, access to education, the availability of healthy foods and environments free of life-threatening toxins.

What Are Social Determinants Of Health?

“Social Determinants of Health” are the complex circumstances in where individuals are born and live impact their health. They include intangible factors such as socioeconomic, political and cultural constructs as well as place-based conditions including accessible education systems and healthcare, well-designed neighborhoods, safe environmental conditions and availability of healthful food.

The social circumstances create societal stratification. These are responsible for health inequities among different groups of people based on social and economic gender, class and ethnicity. Social Determinants of Health are an underlying reason of today’s major health dilemmas that includes heart disease, depression, obesity, and diabetes. Feedback loops and complex interactions also exist among SODH (Social Determinants of Health). As for example, lack of education and poor health can impact employment opportunities that in turn constrain income. Low income reduces access to nutritious food and healthcare that increases hardship. Hardship causes stress that in turn promotes unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating of unhealthy foods and substance abuse.

A “place-based” organizing framework reflected five key areas of SDOH (Social Determinants of Health). It was developed by Healthy People 2020. Each of these determinant areas reflects a number of key issues which make up the underlying factors in the arena of SDOH. The determinants have given below:

Social Determinants of Health,determinants of health,What Are Social Determinants Of Health


Language & Literacy
Early Childhood Education & Development
Higher Education Enrollment
High School Graduation

Economic Stability

Food Insecurity
Housing Instability

Social & Community Context

Social Cohesion
Civil Participation

Health & Healthcare

Access to Primary Care
Access to Health Care
Health Literacy

Neighborhood & Built Environment

Crime and Violence
Quality of Housing
Access to Foods that Support Healthy Eating Patterns
Environmental Conditions

The exemplary of Social Determinants of Health

The Social Determinants of Health are the subset of health determinants such as availability of health care, biological and genetic factors, governmental policies and individual behavioral choices. The examples include:

  • Income
  • Gender inequity
  • Educational opportunities
  • Racial segregation
  • Access to utility services and housing
  • Occupation, workplace safety, and employment status
  • Food inaccessibility of nutritious food choices and insecurity
  • Community inclusivity and social support
  • Early childhood development and experiences
  • Availability of transportation
  • Crime rates and exposure to violent behavior
  • Physical environment and neighborhood conditions
  • Leisure and recreational opportunities
  • Access to safe drinking water, toxin free environments and clean air

Overview of Social Determinants of Health

Health starts in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and communities. As we know, taking care of ourselves by eating well, getting the recommended immunizations, staying active, not smoking, screening test and seeing doctors while being sick all influence our health. Our health is also determined in part by access to economic and social opportunities such as the supports and resources available in our homes, communities, and neighborhoods. It also includes the quality of our schooling, the cleanliness of our water, food, and air, the safety to our workplaces and the nature of our social relationships and interactions. These all together create theSocial Determinants of Health.

The conditions in which we bound to live explains in part why some Americans are healthier than others and why they more generally are not as healthy as they cloud to be.
Healthy People 2020 highlight the importance of addressing the Social Determinants of Health including physical and social environments that promote good health as one of the four overarching goals for the decade.
[The emphasis is shared by the World Health Organization whose commission on Social Determinants of Health in 2008 published the report. It closed the gap in a generation, “Health equity through action on the Social Determinants of Health”.]

[This emphasis is shared by other U.S. health initiatives like the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities.]
[The National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy]
[The Social Determinants of Health topic area within Healthy People 2020 are designed to identify ways to generate physical and social environments that promote good health for all.]

All the Americans deserve an equal opportunity to make the choices which lead to better health. But to ensure that all Americans have that advances, the opportunity is needed not only in health care but also in the fields such as childcare, housing, business, media, law, education, community planning, agriculture, transportation. Making these advances make sure working together. Explore how practices, programs and policies in these areas affect the health of individuals, communities and families. Establish complementary roles, common goals and ongoing constructive between the health sectors and these areas. Maximize opportunities of collaboration among state, federal and local level partners related to Social Determinants of Health. Use these strategies to gain a better health condition.

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