Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health have been put forth by The World Health Organization as THE key factors determining health or lack of…

While the gap in wealth distribution in the U.S. has grown causing more people to slip into poverty while others see tremendous gains, the United Kingdom has been quietly redistributing wealth to address health disparities. Have a look at the United States Government attempt to incorporate Social Determinants into health policy in Healthy People 2020.

The World Health Organization states,

‘It is concerned with key aspects of people’s living and working circumstances and with their lifestyles. It is concerned with the health implications of economic and social policies, as well as with the benefits that investing in health policies can bring”

Here are the Social Determinants:

1. The Social Gradient
Life expectancy is shorter and most diseases are more common further down the social ladder in each society. Health policy must tackle the social and economic determinants of health

2. Stress

Stressful circumstances, making people feel worried, anxious and unable to cope, are damaging to health and may lead to premature death.

3. Early life
A good start in life means supporting mothers and young children: the health impact of early development and education lasts a lifetime.

4. Social Exclusion
Life is short where its quality is poor. By causing hardship and resentment, poverty, social exclusion and discrimination cost lives.

5. Work

Stress in the workplace increases the risk of disease. People who have more control over their work have better health.Unemployment

6. Unemployment
Job security increases health, well-being and job satisfaction. Higher rates of unemployment cause more illness and premature death.

7. Social Support
Friendship, good social relations and strong supportive networks improve health at home, at work and in the community.

8. Addiction
Individuals turn to alcohol, drugs and tobacco and suffer from their use, but use is influenced by the wider social setting.

9. Food
Because global market forces control the food supply, healthy food is a political issue.

10. Transport

Healthy transport means less driving and more walking and cycling, backed up by better public transport.


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