Social Determinants of Health and Health Inequities
Socioeconomic and environmental influences play a role in determining health outcomes, and these are known as social determinants of health (SDH). Life circumstances comprise everything from how a person is born to how they grow, work, live, and retire.
Economic systems, development goals, social standards, social programs, and political systems are all examples of the above. In my perspective, social determinants of health can have an impact on individual well-being both directly and indirectly. Social determinants of health include wages and social security, unemployment and job insecurity in education, working conditions, food insecurity, housing, basic services, and the environment. Others include the development of children in their early years, inclusion and non-discrimination on a social level, structural conflicts, and access to affordable, high-quality health care (Catalyst, 2017). These collective factors have been shown to have a stronger influence on personal well-being than health treatment or lifestyle choices.
From my standpoint, external aspects have a greater impact on an individual’s health than lifestyle choices. Access to medical care, for example, is one of the social determinants of health; therefore, a person who is unable to access care will undoubtedly have their condition compromised, even if they choose a healthy lifestyle (Catalyst, 2017). Poverty, unemployment, and housing insecurity, among other social causes, all contribute to poor health outcomes, in my opinion.
The fact that most healthcare disparities are influenced by racial and ethnic minorities’ discrimination surprised me the most after reading the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) summary on health inequalities. According to the research, Native Americans have a health status of 13.2 percent, which is higher than the overall population’s health status of 9.8 percent (Catalyst, 2017). There is a higher incidence and frequency of chronic diseases among Native Americans than among other racial and ethnic groups. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders and encouraging coordination and alignment among federal departments, agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (as well as ensuring responsibility), national leadership can help to eliminate inequities.
Catalyst, N. E. J. M. (2017). Social determinants of health (SDOH). NEJM Catalyst, 3(6). Web.