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Social Determinants of Health and The Impact on Underserved Communities

Health is under the influence of so many factors. These factors are generally classified into five broad categories that are interconnected and are known as social determinants of health:

  • Education Access and Quality

  • Economic Stability

  • Health Care Assess and Quality

  • Neighborhood and Built Environment

  • Social and Community Context

The conditions in which people are born, live, grow, work, and age and interconnected social structures and economic systems shaping these conditions are called the social determinants of health. These include the status of the social environment (e.g., racism, education level, marital status), economic status, the physical environment including crowding conditions, place of residence, built conditions, i.e., buildings, spaces, transportation systems, and health services, i.e., quality of care.

Several factors that influence the health outcome in any individual are listed below. All of these are affected by social circumstances, although many of them are influenced by the other four determinants of health:

  • Development during early childhood

  • Education obtained and educational quality

  • Job security

  • Type of work he does

  • Food security

  • Having access to health facilities and the quality of those facilities

  • Living conditions such as housing status, clean water, safety, etc.

  • The economic status of the individual

  • Social norms and support (discrimination, racism)

  • Language and residential segregation (physical separation of races/ethnicities into different neighborhoods)

  • Literacy

  • Culture (general customs and beliefs)

  • Access to technologies

Social determinants of health are related to a lack of resources and opportunities to improve, protect and maintain health. These factors are primarily responsible for the unfair and avoidable differences in health services seen within and between populations- the health inequities. These have a significant impact on health outcomes- especially for the most vulnerable (underserved) communities.

Social Determinant of Health_Hight Health

Thus, addressing social determinants of health is very necessary for achieving health equity. Health equity is called when everyone has an equal chance for the highest possible standard of health, and no one is restricted from achieving this health potential because of his social status or conditions. It is also essential to consider the patient's income, environment, and education while providing treatment and care.

It is a fact that poverty inhibits access to a healthy diet, necessary education, and safe

neighborhoods. When such resources are deficient, this can create discrimination and disparities. Such social injustice leads to poor health outcomes and can impact multiple generations. Even in the absence of discrimination population would continue to show prior inequities in the form of persistent disparities.

Negative social determinants may influence both resources and community knowledge about healthcare. It is also indicated that:

  • Children born to uneducated parents are more likely to live with fewer health facilities.

  • With low economic status, the likelihood of premature death increases.

  • Smoking, shorter life span, and low income are strongly interconnected.

  • The living environment of an individual can impact upcoming generations.

  • Disparities lead to stress that has a direct link to health, and chronic exposure to social

  • stressors places the individuals at higher health risk.

The negative social determinants, in addition to impacting health, are costly and influence the overall quality of care and population health. The strategic move feeds the 'health' component of The Hight Brands - Hight Health. Hight Health (a d/b/a of The Hight Effect) is currently working with physicians and community organizations to solve various social determinants of health issues. The entire ecosystem of The Hight Brands is dedicated to elevating the health and wealth of minority communities.

Hight Health constantly seeks government, nonprofit, community and strategic partners in the healthcare and public health sectors. To get in touch and discuss ways to collaborate, contact us today!

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