Social determinants of health

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.

Activity Time: 30 min - 60 min
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 protectionEducation
Working life conditionsFood insecurity
Structural conflictAccess to affordable health services of decent quality
Unemployment and job insecurityHousing, basic amenities and the environment
Early childhood developmentSocial inclusion and non-discrimination