Linking determinants of health to NHPAs

Determinants of health are factors that influence and decide our level of health, and increase or decrease our risk of getting a particular disease.  The following is a list of risk factors for the NHPAs.

bi = biological             be = behavioural             so = social             ph = physical environment

Cancer control

  • (bi) age: as people get older, risk increases
  • (bi) sex: males – prostate, females – ovarian, cervical and breast
  • (bi) genetic predisposition
  • (bi) excess body weight
  • (be) sun exposure: skin cancer, melanoma
  • (be) smoking: lung cancer
  • (be) excessive alcohol use: liver cancer
  • (be) diet – high in red meat and low in fibre: colorectal cancer
  • (so) occupation: blue collar jobs exposed to chemicals, dusts and radiation (lung cancer) and UV (skin cancer)
  • (ph) pollution of air, water, food and soil

Cardiovascular health

  • (bi) high blood pressure and blood cholesterol
  • (bi) excess body weight
  • (bi) age
  • (bi) hormones: oestrogen is a protective factor against CVD (hence pre-menopausal females are at less risk)
  • (be) smoking
  • (be) physical inactivity
  • (be) diet: high in saturated and trans fats and sodium, low in fibre
  • (so) low SES: lower income and thus less access to fresh foods and healthcare
  • (ph) rural location: less access to fresh foods and increased processed foods consumption

Injury prevention and control

  • (bi) age: children and elderly have increased falls risk
  • (bi) sex: males are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours
  • (bi) hormones: testosterone increases risk-taking behaviours
  • (bi) osteoporosis: low bone density and increased risk of fractures
  • (be) excessive alcohol consumption and illicit drug use
  • (be) unsafe driving practices
  • (so) occupation: hazardous physical work
  • (ph) rural location: unsafe roads and poor road signage in rural areas

Mental health

  • (bi) age: youth, mid-life crisis
  • (bi) females
  • (be) illicit drug use
  • (so) low SES: low income and thus financial stress
  • (so) unemployment
  • (so) social exclusion and poor social support
  • (so) domestic violence and broken families
  • (ph) rural location: isolation and employment difficulties

Diabetes mellitus

  • (bi) excess body weight
  • (bi) ethnicity: Indigenous Australians
  • (bi) sex: males
  • (bi) genetics and genetic predisposition
  • (be) diet: high fat and high GI foods, and low fibre intake
  • (be) physical inactivity
  • (so) low SES
  • (ph) rural location: less access to fresh foods and healthcare


  • (bi) age: children
  • (bi) genetics
  • (be) smoking
  • (so) occupation: exposure to asthma triggers, dusts and chemicals in the workplace
  • (ph) overcrowding, poor housing, pollution and poor air quality
  • (ph) others smoking in the home

Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions

  • (bi) age: elderly
  • (bi) sex: female
  • (bi) hormones: the decrease in oestrogen after menopause decreases bone density
  • (bi) excess body weight: places stress on bones and joints
  • (be) smoking: increases rheumatoid arthritis risk
  • (be) diet: low in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D
  • (be) physical inactivity: weight-bearing exercise increases bone density and maintains healthy joints and muscles


  • (be) diet: high in fat, high GI foods, and low in fibre
  • (be) physical inactivity
  • (be) alcohol consumption: alcohol is high in kilojoules
  • (so) low SES: less dietary knowledge and less income to afford fresh foods
  • (so) occupation: sedentary occupation
  • (ph) lack of community facilities: e.g. gyms, parks, courts, bike paths
  • (ph) rural location: less access to fresh foods, more likely to consume processed foods


  • (bi) age: elderly
  • (bi) family history
  • (bi) other conditions: e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity
  • (be) tobacco use
  • (be) physical inactivity
  • (be) lack of mental stimulation
  • (be) excess alcohol consumption: can damage brain
  • (be) diet: high in saturated and trans fats