We are only as healthy as the world around us.

We know that healthy eating, exercise, and our family's health history affect our health, but what about the world around us?

Is the air we breathe clean?

Do we feel safe in our homes?

Do we have the opportunity to earn enough money to survive?

All of these questions relate to the social determinants of health .

Social determinants of health are the conditions where people live, work, learn, and play, and how these conditions affect our health.

Watch this video to learn more about social determinants of health!

Taking A Closer Look

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Is This A Social Determinant Of Health?

Read the two situations below and decide if they describe a social determinant of health.

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Situation 1:

A father knows that he should buy his children healthy foods. He grew up without much money, and was never able to attend school himself. Because he doesn't have an education, it is hard for the father to get a well-paying job. He has to buy whatever he can afford to feed his children, even if the food isn't healthy.

Is this a social determinant of health?

Yes! This situation describes a father that knows what he should do to keep his children healthy, but cannot afford to do it because of a lack of economic stability and a lack of education.

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Situation 2:

A woman knows that she has a family history of cancer.

Since her grandmother and mother have both had cancer, she knows it is important to get regular cancer screenings from her doctor.

Is this a social determinant of health?

No! This situation describes an individual person's health and family history, not community and environment factors.

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Which of these is an example of a social determinant of health?

Take Action

Now that you know the 5 social determinants of health, you can:

  • Understand how the community can affect your own health

  • Evaluate the social determinants of health in your own community

  • Work to challenge barriers to health at the community level

  • Advocate for public health services that benefit your community


  • This week, identify one of each of the five determinants of health in your own community. Think about how these factors affect your own personal health.

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