The Social Determinants of Health
**Graphic By: Veterans Health Administration**
Health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. We know that taking care of ourselves by eating well and staying active, not smoking, getting the recommended immunizations and screening tests, and seeing a doctor when we are sick all influence our health. Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities; the quality of our schooling; the safety of our workplaces; the cleanliness of our water, food, and air; and the nature of our social interactions and relationships. The conditions in which we live explain in part why some Americans are healthier than others and why Americans more generally are not as healthy as they could be.
The Social Determinants of Health topic area identified by "Health People 2020" are ways to create social and physical environments that promote good health for all. All Americans deserve an equal opportunity to make the choices that lead to good health. But to ensure that all Americans have that opportunity, advances are needed not only in health care but also in fields such as education, childcare, housing, business, law, media, community planning, transportation, and agriculture.
Why Are Social Determinants of Health Important?
These factors underlie preventable disparities in health status and disease outcomes. Poor health outcomes are often the result of the interaction between individuals and their social and physical environment.
Policies that result in changes to the social and physical environment can affect entire populations over extended periods of time, while simultaneously helping people to change individual-level behavior.
Improving the conditions in which people are born, live, work, and age will ensure a healthier population, thereby improving national productivity, security, and prosperity through a healthier workforce.
Did you know?
One-third of all high school dropouts come from 1,000 high needs schools. Out-of-school, out-of-work youths will collectively cost Americans about $292,000 each in increased social service costs and lost earning and taxes over the course of their lifetimes.
Healthy People 2020 has a Health Disparities widget in which users can select a leading indicator and then get a graph of disparities by various types.
DiplomasNow.org has developed a program to promote on-time graduation by partnering with organization to cultivate teacher talent, build near peer mentorship, and include case-management support. They are in 14 cities and 32 schools, including at Cardozo Education Campus.
**Healthy People 2020 Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators? Webinar: Social Determinants**
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