What is health? How do we measure the health of a society? Is it merely the clinical outputs of each individual patient or are these numbers impacted by environmental and social factors such as access to healthcare facilities? The answer is yes. Research surrounding health and social services shows a correlation between health outcomes and the environment, calling this junction the Social Determinants of Health (Bradley, et al., 2011; Bradley, et al., 2016; Woolf, et al., 2015). This includes a combination of factors that impact the health of an individual such as: access to food, income, education, physical activity, and proximity to care. This, in turn, impacts outcomes such as life expectancy and prevalence of disease. Reducing negative health outcomes has long-term, positive economic impacts. Healthcare costs related to preventable diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, could be reduced if individuals had access to resources that improve overall health. This improves the overall well-being of citizens; targeting such programs to vulnerable populations could have long term, positive impacts on community members’ health and the economy.
Center for Business and Economic Research, Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, "Social Determinants of Health" (2016). CBER Infographic Posters. 4.