Did You Know? - Social Determinants of Health

We kick off our new "Did You Know?" campaign this month and start with this article on the "Social Determinants of Health." Our goals are to help members of our communities better understand what supports health, how health is created in the community, and how structures inside the community have an influence on health. Look for more articles and Facebook posts to come. We'd love to know your thoughts - visit our Facebook post and submit a comment. 

Did you know...that 80% of what makes up someone's health is determined by what happens outside of the hospital and health clinic? Of the 80%, the largest segment is made up of the "Social Determinants of Health" or "Socioeconomic Factors," as shown in the graphic.

These social determinants are things that make up our communities - the places where we live, work, learn and play. HealthyPeople 2020, a national health initiative, sorts these into five key areas of economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and the built environment.

A few examples of the social determinants include employment, food security, housing stability, early childhood education, civic participation, discrimination, access to health care, and safe places to walk. As you look at these examples, you can see that not every person has the same conditions and that these conditions explain in part why some Americans are healthier than others and why Americans more generally are not as healthy as we could be.

What role does personal choice play? While we choose whether to put the food in our mouth or not, the quality of food that's on our plate may be dictated more by the social determinants than by our personal preferences. What if we don't have reliable transportation to get us to the grocery store? What if our neighborhood has more fast food restaurants? What if our job doesn't pay very well? What if we have to fit dinner in between our first job, picking up the kids from daycare, and getting to our second job?  

Our goal at Feeling Good MN is to work with all members in our communities to improve these conditions. After all, health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities.

Click here to learn more about what we're doing to improve our communities.