- Type 2 diabetes, obesity, lung disease — these have long been thought of as health issues people can avoid if they work hard, eat right, don't smoke and follow a healthy lifestyle. But it's not just how you live that offers protection for your health. Social and physical environments also play a role.
- Social determinants of health are conditions that can affect your health and well-being. They include factors such as exposure to violence, job opportunities, community design and access to care. APHA is working to end disparities influenced by social determinants and achieve health equity for all. Federal officials are also embracing the issue, working to refine the national health agenda around social determinants. This movement is called Public Health 3.0.
- A person's education can be a huge indicator of how healthy they are. According to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation data, both women and men live longer the more education they attain. And babies born to women who did not complete high school are almost twice as likely to die in their first year than babies born to women who did finish high school.
- More and better education can also lead people to healthier behaviors.
- Where people live has a dramatic effect on their health. Location can mean someone lives far away from grocery stores, and cannot access healthy foods. This is called a food desert, and many Americans live in one.
- A lack of access to healthy food can mean poorer health outcomes, including a greater chance of being obese and developing Type 2 diabetes or heart disease.
- Place can also affect the air you breathe. Residents in many neighborhoods, particularly low-income neighborhoods, are at risk for asthma and other lung diseases because of air pollution.
- Even access to affordable housing can affect how healthy a person is. Safe, healthy, affordable housing can improve health, according to the World Health Organization. People spend most of their time indoors, at home, especially young children, who are especially vulnerable, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.