Discussion: What Determines Health?

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Public health nurses contribute to the promotion of positive health outcomes by addressing social and physical environment needs within the communities they serve. International and national public health organizations and initiatives are unified in the premise that health is significantly influenced by factors beyond the individual level. These factors are termed the social determinants of health. According to the World Health Organization, the social determinants of health (SDH) are 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. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, and political systems.

Healthy People 2020 highlights the importance of addressing the social determinants of health by including “Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all” as one of the four overarching goals for the decade. This emphasis is shared by the World Health Organization, whose Commission on Social Determinants of Health in 2008 published the report, Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health. The emphasis is also shared by other U.S. health initiatives such as the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities and the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy.”

For this Discussion, you will choose a topic that is considered a social determinant of health and explain how it influences the health outcomes of a population.

To Prepare:

Review the video from the Worlds Apart series included in this week’s Learning Resources which highlights the experience of Alicia Mercado who is attempting to manage chronic disease within a challenging social and economic environment.
Choose a topic that you think is a social determinant of health and review academic literature and reliable online information on the topic you choose.

Post an explanation of why the issue you identified is a social determinant of health and explain how this issue contributes to health, both positively and negatively.

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