“Social determinants of health”—a term often used in the public health field—refers to 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, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). These social determinants may describe social inequities that are reflected in the poor health of certain populations, often with devastating consequences. WHO, as noted in its report Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health, believes that reducing health inequities is an ethical imperative. “Social injustice,” the report notes, “is killing people on a grand scale.”
Source: Healthy People 2020
People’s health is determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in their homes, neighborhoods, and communities; the quality of their schooling; the safety of their workplaces; the cleanliness of their water, food, and air; and the nature of their social interactions and relationships. Social determinants of health involve economic stability, education, social and community context, health, health care, neighborhood, and the built environment. Each of these five determinant areas reflects a number of key issues that make up the underlying factors in the arena of social determinants of health.