|Determinants of Health|
Through the work of researchers such as Sir Michael Marmot, we now understand that good health does not lie solely with medical interventions but also with living conditions and personal choices (4, 5). Determinants of health are lifestyle-based properties affected by broader social, economic, and political forces that influence quality of personal health. These attributes include but are not limited to education level, employment, income level and distribution, housing, childhood development, food security and nutrition, race, gender, and stress. Such factors have been shown to have marked associations with risks for different illnesses, life expectancy, and life-time morbidity. In recent decades, increasing health disparities in developed countries and between developing and developed countries have been associated with these social factors. While public health workers and policymakers seek to reduce this divide, they face challenges in designing and implementing programs that are comprehensive enough to address issues that have complex, long-term, causal relationships with specific disease pathways. However, both the motivation and action to develop effective research and intervention methods continue to grow in this field of public health (1).
Documents and publications
Areas of Work
The below figures demonstrate that improved social conditions and better health status often have a positive, step-wise, incremental gradient association (2). Click on the figure to enlarge:
Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization