Chapter 2 Section 17.docx - Chapter 2 Section 17 What...

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Chapter 2 Section 17 What broader factors determine whether people in a community are healthy? What accounts for differences in health outcomes among people in different groups, communities, and countries? The health of a community – and its people – is dependent on a number of social, political, economic, and environmental conditions. Social determinants of health refer to access to power, money, and resources and the conditions of daily life that affect health and well being for groups of people (Solar, Irwin, WHO 2010). These conditions support or limit the health of a community or a population. Health disparities or inequalities occur when there are differences in conditions—where people are born, live, work, and play—across different groups. For instance, racial/ethnic minorities experience poorer health when they are more: exposed to hazards through poor housing and working conditions vulnerable due to poor education and limited resources likely to have adverse consequences due to lack of adequate services In 2008, the Commission on Social Determinants of Health published its final report, Closing the Gap: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health. The report reminds us: “Social justice is a matter of life and death. It affects the way people live, their consequent chance of illness, and their risk of premature death… Achieving health equity within a generation is achievable, it is the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it.” Throughout the world, there are efforts to address social determinants of health. For instance, in the United States, the health objectives for the nation include the goal of create social and physical environments that promote good health for all by addressing social determinants of health (Healthy People, 2020). Globally, the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants (2011) reaffirmed the global commitment to take action on social determinants of health. Key action areas include improving governance, community participation, attention to health inequities, and monitoring progress. To achieve this vision will require a whole community approach in which different sectors—health, education, housing, labor, justice, transportation, agriculture, and the environment—all work together to assure conditions for health. To be successful, this approach requires changes at the levels of individuals, relationships, communities, and broader systems. It requires environmental, economic, and policy strategies along with individual behavioral change and health services. The approach also requires developing partnerships among different groups including public health, community organizations, education, government, business, and civil society. Health equity and health disparities. A basic principle of public health is that all people have a right to health. Health disparities refer to differences in the existence and frequency of health conditions and health status among groups. Most health disparities affect groups that have been marginalized or

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