The World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source defines social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.”
Social determinants of health are an extensive range of factors that exist throughout all aspects of society. However, they are separate from medical care or a person’s individual lifestyle choices.
A study cited by the National Academy of Medicine found that medical care itself only accounted for 10–20% of the contributors to people’s health outcomes.
By contrast, the many social determinants of health play a much bigger role in influencing a person’s health, making up 80–90% of the contributing factors.
This article explores social determinants of health, including their forms and the roles they play in shaping healthcare outcomes.