Social Determinants of Health

When we think about our health, we usually think about how much exercise we are getting or what we eat on a regular basis. However, our health is much more complex. Things like our family medical history can play an important part in our overall and long term health. However, in recent years, public health scientists and researchers have discovered our health can be determined by what neighborhoods we live in, our level of education, and how much income we earn.  

These things are called the social determinants of health.  While these things seem like they should not be important when it comes to our health, they can have long-lasting effects.  The Healthy People 2020 guide has developed “place-based” organizing framework, reflecting five key areas of social determinants of health.

  • Economic Stability
  • Education
  • Social and Community Context
  • Health and Health Care
  • Neighborhood and Built Environment

These factors can determine who can have good or bad health outcomes, regardless of genetics or health habits.