Health Determinants and Factors
Health is more than healthcare. As illustrated in the County Health Rankings model, a wide range of factors influence how long and how well we live, from education and income, to what we eat and how we move, to the quality of our housing and the safety of our neighborhoods. For some people, the essential elements for a healthy life are readily available; for others, the opportunities for healthy choices are significantly limited.
This section outlines:
• Health Behavioral Factors
• Social & Economic Factors
• Physical Environment
• Clinical Healthcare
Health Behavioral Factors
Health behavioral factors are choices and actions individuals take that affect their health. The choices we make are shaped by the choices we have. These include actions that can lead to improved health, such as being physically active and eating well, and actions that increase your risk of disease, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Social and Economic Factors
Social and economic factors can significantly affect how we live and how well we live. These factors affect our ability to make healthy choices, manage stress, afford care and housing, and so much more.
The physical environment is where we live, learn, work and play. Communities interact with their physical environment through the air they breathe, water they drink, houses they live in, and the transportation they access to travel to work and school. The physical environment can affect our ability, our families and our neighbors ability to live long, and healthy lives.
Access to affordable, quality and timely health care can help prevent diseases and detect issues sooner. Access to clinical care is also an essential part of treating and managing health conditions, enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives.
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Photo “Water Lily” by Mike Maguire CC BY 2.0