Social determinants of health (SDHs) are the non-medical factors that influence our health. These include our living conditions, the learning and work opportunities available to us, and social norms. Research suggests SDHs are more important than health care or lifestyle choices. Some studies say SDHs account for 30-55% of health outcomes. People who live in poorer areas tend to have poorer health.

“Inequities in power, money and resources give rise to inequities in the conditions of daily life, which in turn lead to inequities in health.”  – Sir Michael Marmot

Activity steps
  1. Consider the factors below that influence health equity, the chance to be as healthy as possible. 
  2. Choose a person, community or country to examine through the SDH lens. 
  3. Fill in the chart with examples that reflect the realities and opportunities (or lack of opportunities) available to the person or community.
  4. Share your findings and how you feel about them with others.
Income and social protection Education
Working life conditions Food insecurity
Structural conflict Access to affordable health services of decent quality
Unemployment and job insecurity Housing, basic amenities and the environment
Early childhood development Social inclusion and non-discrimination