Almost every aspect of our lives, from our jobs to our homes, our access to education and public transport, to whether we experience poverty or racism, impacts our health and ultimately, how long we will live. These factors are often referred to as the social determinants of health.
Why focus on the social determinants of health?
Good health matters, to individuals and to society. But we don't all have the same opportunities to live healthy lives.
Right now, in the poorest parts of the UK, people are dying years earlier than people in wealthier areas.
Poverty, poor-quality housing, low-paid or unstable jobs all impact people’s physical and mental health. When people don’t have the things they need for good health – like warm homes and nutritious food – and are constantly worrying about making ends meet, it puts a strain on their bodies, resulting in increased stress, high blood pressure, and a weaker immune system.
The Health Foundation
The Health Foundation has some excellent tools and resources that help to explain the 'bigger picture' of what makes us healthy - it's not always obvious how the social determinants impact on health - but the content on this site makes it easy to understand how everything is linked.
What drives health inequalities
Evidence Hub: Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health
Big picture infographics
- our surroundings
- education and skills
- the food we eat
- money and resources
- family, friends and communities
- good work.
The Dahlgren and Whitehead model of social determinants of health
- Economic status
- Neighborhood and physical environment
- Community/social context
- Healthcare system