What are social determinants of health?
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are, according to the World Health Organization, "the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age." In other words, SDOH are the circumstances and surroundings in which individuals live that affect their health.
There are a variety of social determinants of health. One example is income. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown that people with lower incomes have poorer health than those with higher incomes. Other social determinants of health include education, employment, housing, food insecurity, racism, and sexism.
The CDC states that social determinants of health affect "a person’s current state of health as well as their likelihood of developing certain health conditions." SDOH can also influence how well a person responds to treatment for a particular condition. In order to improve the overall health of a population, it is important to address the social determinants of health.
How do social determinants of health affect health outcomes?
Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems.
The social determinants of health are linked to the changing conditions in which people are born, grow, work and age. The way these conditions affect health can be seen in many different ways:
Income: Low-income individuals and families are more likely to live in poor-quality housing with little or no access to green space, safe walking routes or public transportation. They may also have difficulty affording nutritious food or may not have access to affordable healthcare. All of these factors can lead to poorer health outcomes.
Education: Individuals with higher levels of education tend to have better-paying jobs, which can lead to improved housing and nutrition. They also tend to have better access to information about health and wellness. All of these factors can lead to better health outcomes.
Employment: People who are unemployed or underemployed often have poorer mental and physical health than those who are employed full time. This is due in part to increased stress levels associated with unemployment or underemployment. Poor mental health can lead to substance abuse, which can further worsen mental health problems. These problems can then lead to physical health problems such as heart disease or obesity.
What are some examples of social determinants of health?
There are many social determinants of health, which are defined as the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These circumstances include factors like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, and social support networks. The following are examples of social determinants of health:
-Income and social status: Poverty is one of the most well-known social determinants of health. Low-income families often struggle to pay for basic needs like food and housing, which can lead to poor health.
-Education: Lack of education can limit access to good jobs and prevent people from understanding how to take care of their health.
-Neighborhood and physical environment: Living in a safe neighborhood with access to parks and other recreational facilities can encourage people to be physically active. Poor air quality, on the other hand, can lead to respiratory problems.
-Employment: Having a job provides income, which can buy necessities like food and housing. It also offers a sense of purpose and structure.
-Social support networks: Friends and family can provide emotional support during difficult times.
How can social determinants of health be addressed?
There are a number of ways to address social determinants of health:
- by providing universal access to key services and social protections
- by investing in early childhood development
- by tackling poverty and inequality
- by creating more equal societies
- by empowering communities and individuals