Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of Health as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refer to conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play which affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. These conditions are intrinsically tied to the health outcome of individuals and communities. These conditions will be different in communities but organized under five headings.

According to the 1946 World Health Organization (WHO) definition, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” this definition encompasses all aspects of human life which directly or indirectly impacts overall wellbeing of an individual and by extension the community. These determinants according to healthy people 2020 include:

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

Each of these five determinant areas reflects several key issues that make up the underlying factors in the arena of SDOH.

1. Economic Stability

  • Employment
  • Food Insecurity
  • Housing Instability
  • Poverty

2. Education

  • Early Childhood Education and Development
  • Enrollment in Higher Education
  • High School Graduation
  • Language and Literacy
  • Access to books
  • School building and space to study

3. Social and Community Context

  • Civic Participation
  • Discrimination
  • Incarceration
  • Social Cohesion

4. Health and Health Care

  • Access to Health Care
  • Access to Primary Care
  • Health Literacy
  • Behavioral health
  • Sexual Health
  • Cancer screening

5. Neighborhood and Built Environment

  • Access to Foods that Support Healthy Eating Patterns
  • Crime and Violence
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Quality of Housing
  • Portable water
  • Electricity


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