Social, economic inequality plays significant role in determining health outcome

| | August 14, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Last year, The Detroit News covered a disturbing story of health inequity. For children, Detroit is the deadliest city in the United States due to premature birth and violence.

Detroit children through age 18 died at a rate of 120 per 100,000.

A critical mass of knowledge now exists about the role of social factors that set the stage for health. Where health was once considered a question of genetics, individual behaviors and medical treatment, new models are illuminating powerful connections between health, resources and environment.

When we view Metro Detroit through the lens of social determinants of health, certain facts stand out and pathways for improvement emerge. We can begin to understand the roots of health differences in the region.

The World Health Organization defines the social determinants of health as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

According to the agency, “The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities — the unfair and avoidable differences within health status seen within and between countries.”

To be healthy, people need access to resources like safe and affordable housing, adequate and nutritious food, transportation and social connections. But these resources are not readily available to all. This is the root cause of health inequity. Income, education, social class, and racial and gender discrimination are identified by the World Health Organization as the key structural determinants that influence access to resources and vulnerability to risk.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: How social determinants of health affect life spans

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