Social Determinants of Health
Let’s Start a Conversation About Health...
What determines health? Many people think of their health as a result of personal choices they make such as choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables, being active for at least 30 minutes or more, choosing not to smoke, or drinking alcohol in moderation. Others believe that seeing a health professional promptly for medical care when it is needed is what makes them healthy.
New information says that health is affected by much more than that. It is a result of everything that we do... where we live, learn, work, and play. These conditions are called determinants of health. Below are the determinants of health listed by the Canadian Public Health Agency.
- Income and Income Distribution
- Unemployment and Job Security
- Employment and Working Conditions
- Early Childhood Development
- Food Insecurity
- Social Exclusion
- Social Safety Network
- Health Services
- Aboriginal Status
Adapted from the CPHA - Canadian Public Health Association
Safe and affordable housing is an absolute necessity for living a healthy life. The presence of mould, poor heating, inadequate ventilation, pests and overcrowding are all determinants of adverse health outcomes. Children who live in low quality housing condition have a greater likelihood of poor health outcomes as children and also later in adulthood.
The Canadian Facts, Social Determinants of Health
Also see: Infographic: 10 Reasons Why Housing Issues in Canada Put Youth at Risk
Transport provides access to jobs, education, services, and recreational activities - critical social determinants of health. Many vulnerable groups, such as women, children and youth, disabled persons, low-income groups, and the elderly, have less access to a personal vehicle; they rely on walking, cycling, and public transport.
WHO, Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (p 29)
Aboriginal peoples are more likely to be living in crowded housing than non-Aboriginal Canadians. Rates of infectious and chronic diseases are much higher in the Aboriginal population than the rest of Canadians. Suicide rates, addiction rates, and childhood sexual assault are much higher than the rest of Canada.
Social Determinants of Health - The Canadian Facts
Recommendations of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Report need to be followed to address the social determinants of health affected all Aboriginal Peoples. See Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
Social Safety Net
This refers to a range of benefits, programs and supports that protect citizens during various life changes that can affect their health. These life changes could be normal things such as having and raising children, reaching retirement, or could be unexpected events such as having an accident, unemployment, or getting sick. More information on Social Safety Net can be found within Social Determinants of Health - The Canadian Facts.
Why Canadian babies don’t sleep in boxes.
Early Childhood Development
What do we mean by Poverty?
Poverty can come in many shares and forms. While many think of poverty as an economic issue, such as lack of financial resources, it is also impacted by a variety of political, personal, social and cultural factors. Various forms of poverty are often referred to including:
- Absolute Poverty
- Situational Poverty
- Generational Poverty
- Relative Poverty
To fully understand poverty, we all must consider the opportunities we have had in our own lives. Not everyone has the same opportunities to succeed – there can be many roadblocks people face in their day to day lives. Literacy levels, income and employment, housing, education, access to healthy foods, transportation, mental health and many other factors may contribute to poverty and ultimately to the health of people in our community. Some demographics are also more likely to experience poverty, such as single parents, newcomers to Canada and, due to the ongoing impacts of colonialism, Indigenous peoples.
Grey Bruce Poverty Issues
INCOME - In 2015, the median income for households in Grey ($62,935) and Bruce was well below the provincial average of $74,287. 20% of Grey and 13.4% of Bruce children live in low-income households [LIM-AT], though this varies greatly by local municipality.
HOMELESSNESS – In 2017, the number of people across Grey and Bruce who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and accessed the YMCA Housing Support Program was 3,002.
EDUCATION - In 2016, 14.1% of 25-34 year olds in Grey Bruce did not complete high school, which is well above the Ontario average of 7.7%.
ALCOHOL MISUSE – 23% of Grey Bruce residents identified as heavy drinkers in 2013/14, compared to 17% across Ontario.