Social Determinants of Health

… a core concept in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105

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Concept description

The Public Health Agency of Canada defines social determinants of health as “a specific group of social and economic factors within the broader determinants of health [that] relate to an individual’s place in society, such as income, education or employment.”

It also states that:

“Experiences of discrimination or historical trauma are also important social determinants of health for certain groups such as Indigenous Peoples.”

Health inequalities in Canada

The Agency states:

“Differences in the health status of individuals and groups are called health inequalities. These differences can be due to your genes and the choices you make. For example, whether you exercise or drink alcohol. However, the social determinants of health can also have an important influence on health. For example, Canadians with higher incomes are often healthier than those with lower incomes.

Health inequity refers to health inequalities that are unfair or unjust and modifiable. For example, Canadians who live in remote or northern regions do not have the same access to nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables as other Canadians.

Health equity is the absence of unfair systems and policies that cause health inequalities. Health equity seeks to reduce inequalities and to increase access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all.

“Reducing health inequalities means helping to give everyone the same opportunities to be healthy, no matter who they are or where they live.  We are working in a number of ways to reduce health inequalities and address the social determinants of health.

  • The Health Inequalities Data Tool contains a large set of data on health inequalities in Canada by subgroups of the Canadian population.  It was created by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
  • The Key Health Inequalities in Canada: A National Portrait report discusses important health inequalities in Canada. It was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network in collaboration with Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and the First Nations Information Governance Centre.
  • Data on Indigenous children, and health and development in the early years supports the design of effective early childhood development programs and interventions. These resources were developed by the Canadian Institute of Child Health in partnership with the Canadian Council on Social Determinants of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Income Inequality and Poverty (core topic) in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105.

Source

The Public Health Agency of Canada (2018), Social determinants of health and health inequalities, at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/population-health/what-determines-health.html, accessed 27 December 2018.

Page created by: Alec Wreford and Ian Clark, last modified on 27 December 2018.

Image: The Public Health Agency of Canada (2018), Social determinants of health and health inequalities, at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/population-health/what-determines-health.html, accessed 27 December 2018.