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Health Equity

Social Determinants of Health

People often think of health as only having access to health professionals and medical care. But being healthy is about more than visiting a doctor or a hospital. Health starts with where we live, learn, work and play.

Our living conditions and social status (for example, income, education, job, housing and social supports) are very important factors that affect our health. These factors are known as the social determinants of health (SDOH).

Having little or no income or not having a safe place to call home are two of the most critical factors (determinants) that affect a person’s health

Determinants of health can reduce the quality and years of a person's life and can also result in an increase in some preventable illnesses and disease.  

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified 12 determinants of health as follows:
  1. Income and social status
  2. Social support networks
  3. Education and literacy
  4. Employment/working conditions
  5. Social environments
  6. Physical environments
  7. Personal health practices and coping skills
  8. Healthy child development
  9. Biology and genetic endowment
  10. Health services
  11. Gender
  12. Culture
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