Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)

Social determinants of health (SDOH) refer to the social and economic factors that influence an individual's overall health and well-being. These factors include, but are not limited to, income, education, occupation, housing, and access to healthcare.

SDOH play a significant role in determining health outcomes and can have a major impact on health disparities, which are differences in health outcomes between different population groups. For example, individuals living in low-income neighborhoods may have limited access to healthy food options, safe places to exercise, and quality healthcare, which can lead to higher rates of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Examples of social determinants of health include:

  • Income and social status: lower income and social status are associated with higher rates of disease and mortality
  • Education: higher levels of education are associated with better health outcomes
  • Employment: unemployment or unstable employment is associated with poor mental and physical health
  • Housing: poor quality housing can lead to health problems such as asthma and exposure to environmental toxins
  • Race and ethnicity: minorities experience higher rates of chronic diseases and have higher mortality rates than the majority population

Recognizing and addressing social determinants of health is important for improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities. It requires a holistic approach that goes beyond traditional healthcare and focuses on the underlying social and economic factors that influence health.

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