5 Social Determinants of Health and Ways to Address Them


Many people do not realize that their health depends on various factors. Some social and economic conditions in which we live can significantly impact our health. What are social determinants of health then?

For example, if a person is living in an area where there is too much violence, the chances are high that they might get an injury or die early. Hence a lot of things affect our health in unimaginable ways.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion or ODPH said, "Health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities." They also said, "Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities."

Here are five factors that can affect your health:

Neighborhood One Resides
This segment refers to the actual area in which a person lives. It includes the surroundings, the cleanliness in the region, the amenities they have, and the house they reside in, which also refers to the infrastructure. The accessibility of nutritious food and several other environmental factors fall into this category.

Health Plus Healthcare
The following factors fall under this segment:

  • Health literacy of a person - The level of this understanding varies from person to person
  • Accessibility to clinics, healthcare units, and specialists

Education or Literacy
These are the following elements that fall under this category:

  • Access to childhood education or development
  • Student and teacher ratio in the school
  • Curriculum or course materials are up to date or not
  • Language skills of the students
  • Number of students that are enrolling into higher education

Social and Community Context
Here are some elements that fall under this segment:

  • Civic participation in community-related activities
  • Presence or Absence of Discrimination
  • The level of social cohesion that is present in the community
  • An Individual served or did not serve a term in the prison

Economic Stability or Conditions
Referred below are some factors that will affect your health:

  • Employment or Unemployment Rate
  • Food Insecurity
  • Poverty Levels
  • Housing Instability, to name a few

Now that we understand, What are social determinants of health? Now, here are some of the things that we can do to address it:

Raising Awareness: Yes, this should be the first goal that you must have once you understand this concept. Most of the general public and healthcare professionals are unaware of these things. There is a need to educate them. Healthcare professionals will help people better when they understand their circumstances.

Set the Right Goals
Policymakers that are responsible for creating prevention programs need to work hard to make specific short-term and long-term goals. Having realistic and reachable goals will help you to make a significant impact.

Work Towards Policy Changes
No matter where you are, advocate for or work towards policy changes. It might be your community that needs help, or it might be your workplace where there should be a change, be an advocate to help them change the policies.