Social Determinants of Health and WellBeing

There is a long list provided by the WHO of the social determinants necessary to influence the well-being and health of every individual. While some parts of this list are far from being social influences, many do indeed fall within the list of determinants in society that affect its individuals. This list includes: income, education or more specifically health literacy, employment, physical environment, child development, biology, gender and culture. Thus, as proven, some factors are a far cry from what can be considered as social determinants to the prevailing health system today. Yet aspects like housing: physical environment, education: health literacy and culture can play a tremendous role in determining the kind of health services available. Additional aspects of social determinants to health are the early life of an individual, their working conditions, income distribution and food security (The Social Determinants of Health).

The importance of these social determinants is not one that is lost on everyone. Individual writers like Raphael speak of the social determinants as responsible for the economic and social conditions that assist in shaping the health of not just individuals but also communities and jurisdictions. He defines social determinants as responsible for determining the degree to which their resources: physical, personal and societal can satisfy their needs and help cope with the surrounding environment.

To better understand the part played by social determinants it is necessary to understand how these determinants can affect the health and causes diseases. Research has been carried out that determines a cultural/behavioral or materialistic/structuralist approach to understanding the mechanisms that influence this process (Townsend, Davidson &amp. Whitehead).

The cultural/behavioral theme concentrates on the individual’s choices and behavior. For instance, it can include the amount of tobacco or alcohol in