because of lasting impacts of colonization
Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at local, national and global levels. Considering our health through that lens means adopting a holistic perspective And looking at the complex and multi-layered biological, behavioural and social factors that influence our health as individuals and communities.
These conditions affect our access to resources like, for example, housing, money, healthy foods, public transportation, safe jobs, clean air and water, childcare. They also affect our access to health care from providers who are knowledgeable about us and our access to support networks.
Among the variety of models of social determinants of health that exist, the one developed at a York University Conference held in Toronto in 2002 has proven especially useful for understanding why some people in Canada are healthier than others. The 14 social determinants of health in this model are:
Each of these social determinants of health has been shown to have strong effects on people’s health in Canada. Their effects are actually much stronger than the ones associated with behaviours like diet, physical activity and even smoking and/or drinking excessively.
Social determinants of health determine whether individuals stay healthy or become ill (a narrow definition of health).
Social determinants of health also determine the extent to which someone has the physical, social and personal resources to identify and achieve personal aspirations, satisfy needs and cope with their environments (a broader definition of health).
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