The 5 Social Determinants of Health: Key Factors Shaping Well-being - MEDLIFE

The 5 Social Determinants of Health: Key Factors Shaping Well-being

Whether you plan to work in healthcare, are currently in school, or are wanting to volunteer with MEDLIFE, understanding the social determinants of health is a necessity. These factors cover various aspects of life, influencing overall well-being. As highlighted in a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), these determinants include Economic Stability, Education Access and Quality, Health Care Access and Quality, Neighbourhood and Built Environment, and Social and Community Context. Let’s explore each of these components to comprehend their significance in shaping health outcomes.

the social determinants of health

What Are The Social Determinants of Health?

We’ve outlined a list of the social determinants of health to help you understand and know the key pillars everyone needs to thrive:

Economic Stability: Financial security plays a crucial role in determining one’s health. Individuals facing poverty or unstable employment often struggle to afford nutritious food, secure housing, and access healthcare services. By not having access to resources that require money, the cycle of poverty continues and makes an inescapable loop for many individuals and families. Economic stability also impacts stress levels, mental health, and overall quality of life.

Education Access and Quality: Education serves as a cornerstone for health. Access to quality education equips individuals with essential knowledge and skills to make informed health decisions. It also influences employment opportunities, income levels, and social mobility, thereby impacting health outcomes across generations.

Health Care Access and Quality: Accessible and high-quality healthcare services are fundamental for maintaining good health. Barriers such as lack of insurance, geographic distance, and cultural differences can hinder individuals from receiving timely care, leading to disparities in health outcomes.

Neighbourhood and Built Environment: The physical environment in which people live, work, and play significantly influences health. Factors like housing conditions, air quality, access to green spaces, and community safety impact individuals’ ability to engage in healthy behaviors and access resources for well-being.

Social and Community Context: Social relationships, support networks, and community resources play a vital role in shaping health. Strong social connections foster resilience, reduce stress, and provide avenues for social participation and support. Social isolation, discrimination, and lack of community cohesion can also heavily contribute to adverse health outcomes due to a lack of support and resources from others.

Addressing the social determinants of health requires collaborative efforts across sectors, including healthcare, education, housing, and policy-making. It also is vital for those who are interested in working in healthcare to understand these factors in order to provide the most compassionate and informed care possible. By addressing root causes and inequalities, communities can work towards creating environments that promote health equity and well-being for all.

What Are The Social Determinants of Health

Recognizing and addressing the social determinants of health is essential for achieving optimal health outcomes and reducing health disparities. By prioritizing economic stability, education, healthcare access, neighborhood environments, and social contexts, societies can create conditions conducive to health and well-being for all individuals. Let’s strive to build inclusive and supportive communities that prioritize health equity and empower individuals to lead healthy lives.

To assist in breaking down the barriers between those in need of healthcare and education in Latin America and Africa, consider volunteering with MEDLIFE. To learn more about our Service Learning Trips, fill out the interest form below, download our free brochure, or check out our upcoming trips!