Social-Drivers-of-Health

July 1, 2024

Understanding Social Drivers of Health

We all know healthy habits like exercise and good nutrition are important for well-being. But what if there were other, unseen factors influencing our health to a much greater degree? This is where the concept of social drivers of health (SDOH) comes in.

SDOH: The Hidden Players in Health Outcomes

SDOH are the social and economic conditions where we live, learn, work, and play. These factors can have a profound impact on our health, often playing a bigger role than medical care itself. Here are some key examples of SDOH:

  • Stable Housing: Safe and secure housing is crucial for good health. People experiencing homelessness or living in inadequate housing are more likely to experience chronic health problems.
  • Access to Healthy Food: A lack of access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods can lead to diet-related diseases like obesity and diabetes.
  • Quality Education: Educational attainment is linked to better health outcomes. People with higher levels of education tend to live longer, healthier lives.
  • Income Security: Financial stress can take a toll on physical and mental health. Low income can limit access to healthy food, healthcare, and other resources.
  • Social Support: Strong social connections can buffer stress and contribute to overall well-being. Social isolation, on the other hand, can increase the risk of chronic diseases.

Why SDOH Matters

Research suggests that SDOH accounts for up to 80% of health outcomes. This means that factors outside the doctor’s office have a far greater impact on our health than medical interventions alone.

Taking Action on SDOH

The good news is that by addressing SDOH, we can create healthier communities for everyone. Here are some ways we can make a difference:

  • Individual Level: Get involved in community gardens, support food banks, and advocate for policies that promote affordable housing and education.
  • Community Level: Healthcare institutions can partner with community organizations to address social needs like housing insecurity or food access.
  • Policy Level: Support policies that promote income security, affordable housing, and access to healthy food.

Social drivers of health can seem complex, but you don’t have to navigate them alone. At NEW Health, we understand the challenges these factors can present. That’s why we offer dedicated Patient Navigators to help you access the resources you need to live a healthy life.

Ready to take the first step?

Contact our Patient Navigators today at 509-935-6004 and press option #5. They’ll work with you to understand your needs and connect you with the resources available in your community.
Learn more at newhealth.org/navigate

Together, let’s build a healthier future for all!

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