Determinants of health

In the past, most people thought that health was affected mainly by lifestyle choices as well as bio-medical and genetic factors. Today, there is a growing understanding in Canada and around the world that our health and well-being is also affected by non-medical factors—many of which are outside of our direct control.

Determinants of Health is a term used to describe the factors that influence the health of people. While there are a variety of approaches to describing these, there is a common understanding that these determinants are a complex set of factors or conditions that determine and influence the level of health of every person.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified 12 factors that influence the health of people in Canada, known as the determinants of health:
1.    income
2.    social support
3.    education and literacy
4.    employment and working conditions
5.    social environments
6.    physical environments
7.    personal health practices and coping skills
8.    healthy child development
9.    biology and genetic endowment
10.  health services
11.  gender
12.  culture

Learn more from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Visit the Toolbox tools for more information on the determinants of health.