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Public Health news: Social Determinants of Health

March 2022

Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants, sometimes called wider determinants, are a diverse range of social, economic and environmental factors which impact on people's health. This new regular feature will give an update on a different topic within the social determinants of health each quarter in Healthier Times.

In this first article we will describe what we mean by wider or social determinants and what we plan to discuss in future editions

The Health Foundation has produced a short but helpful video that gives a great introduction to quite a complex issue, called what makes us healthy.

In the Director of Public Health Reports for 2019, the introduction describes ''The conditions in which we are born, live, work and age are influential on health and wellbeing. These factors are often known as the social determinants of health. Many experts agree that these determinants of health are more important than health care services in ensuring a healthy population. Social determinants are a range of social, economic and environmental factors which impact on people's health and wellbeing that are influenced by the local, national and international distribution of power and resources which shape the conditions of daily life.

This shapes opportunities for the population such as the quality and access to education and jobs, quality housing stock, open and green spaces (such as parks) and transport links for school, work and leisure. However, these opportunities are not always equal to the whole population, which creates inequalities across the Borough''

In the previous Director of Public Health's annual report, hypothetical children Jack and Emily were used to demonstrate the differences of two children born on the same day but from different parts of the borough, and what impact that had on their health and wellbeing, as they developed from children into adulthood. Jack was born in the ward of Simonside and Rekendyke and Emily in Cleadon and East Boldon. Their journeys through life are quite shockingly different, culminating in Jack expecting to live 75 years and Emily 87 years; a whole 12 years longer.

The examples of social determinants described in the 2019 report include:

  • Childhood experiences                                                         
  • Housing
  • Education                                                                                  
  • Social Support
  • Family Income                                                                          
  • Employment
  • Our communities                                                                     
  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to health

In future editions of Healthier Times, we will focus on these eight categories, one by one and show:-

    • The scale of the problem in South Tyneside
    • Showcasing some of the great work that already exists
    • Raising awareness of what is available to support those who need help
    • Identifying what more could be done

    The next edition will focus on family income including debt. This is especially topical as we all face the rising cost of living.

    If you need immediate help to manage your money, local support is available from South Tyneside Council - FREE money and debt advice.

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