Determinants of Health

(Not to be confused with the dimensions of health – make sure you read the question carefully!)

Determinants of health are factors in a person’s life which influence their level of health. You will need to be able to classify determinants of health and analyse their relationship with health outcomes, especially those which are on the NHPA list. The determinants of health in H&HD are classified as environmental, biological, behavioural and social.

[video-link link=”MruIBNeFh3k”]

Biological determinants

Biological determinants are factors relating to the body that impact on health, including:

  • sex
  • age
  • genetics (predispositions to certain diseases and conditions)
  • ethnicity
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • body shape
  • blood pressure
  • blood choleterol level
  • functioning of organs & body systems
  • hormones (oestrogen and testosterone)

Behavioural determinants

Behavioural determinants are people’s choices that influence their health – related to their lifestyle.

  • diet (refer to specific nutrients)
  • physical activity levels
  • smoking
  • drug use
  • alcohol consumption
  • sexual behaviours
  • sun protection behaviours
  • accessing preventative healthcare
  • risk-taking behaviours, e.g. drink driving

Social determinants

Social determinants refer to aspects of society and the social environment that influence health.  They generally relate to contact with other people in someone’s community.

  • gender (e.g. macho image)
  • culture
  • religion
  • family structure
  • socio-economic status (SES) – e.g. employment status, income, education levels, occupation
  • social exclusion

Physical environment determinants

Environmental determinants refer the impact of the physical surroundings in which we live, work and play on our health.

  • rural vs urban living location
  • presence of chemicals in the home, school or work environment (e.g. asbestos, dust and chemicals)
  • smoking in the home
  • shelter
  • water supply and cleanliness
  • overcrowding in the home
  • sanitation infrastructure
  • access to recreational facilities (pools, parks, gyms, bike pathscommunity social areas or clubs)
  • physical access to fresh foods and healthcare