Social Determinants of Health - What are They?
According to the CDC, “Social determinants of health (SDoH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”
Some organizations group SDoH into 6 categories. The CDC uses 5 to better understand how key issues impact health outcomes:
· Economic Stability: Poverty, employment, food security, and housing
· Education Access and Quality: Getting an education, graduating from high school,
enrolling in higher education, early childhood education, language, and literacy
· Healthcare Access and Quality: Health literacy and access to healthcare, primary care,
and health insurance
· Neighborhood and Built Environment: Housing, access to transportation, availability of
healthy food, and violence and crime
· Social and Community Context: Community cohesion, civic participation,
discrimination, workplace conditions, and incarceration
Evidence shows that SDoH have a huge impact on health, well-being, and quality of life. SDoH can also widen health disparities and inequities. For example, when people don't have access to grocery stores stocked with healthy foods – raising the likelihood of poor nutrition – it increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity and lowers life expectancy.
Disparities in health outcomes are notable in communities with poor SDoH like unstable housing, low income, unsafe neighborhoods, or substandard education. By applying what is known about SDoH, individual and population health can be improved and health equity can be advanced.
Resources that have a demonstrated influence on population health outcomes include:
· Safe and affordable housing
· Access to education
· Public safety
· Availability of healthy foods
· Local emergency/health services
· Environments free of life-threatening toxins
Reliable and intuitive case management software is crucial to better collecting and understanding SDoH. Contact us today for a demo and learn more about how tracking SDoH can help your community.