What makes us healthy?

29 June 2017

Thumbnail

Our series of infographics, accompanying blogs and commentaries aim to describe and explain the social determinants of health in an accessible and engaging way.

These determinants include political, social, economic, environmental and cultural factors which shape the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. Creating a healthy population requires greater action on these factors, not simply on treating ill health further down stream.

The first infographic shows the extent to which health is primarily shaped by factors outside the direct influence of health care and invites us to look at this bigger picture. It also highlights the gap of almost 20 years in health expectancy between people living in the most and least deprived areas of the UK – a gap that is explained not by our ability to see a doctor, but by differences in our experience of the things that make us healthy including good work, education, housing, resources, our physical environment and social connections.

file_alt_text

In a companion blog, Sir Michael Marmot, director of the Institute of Health Equity at University College, London describes how poor social conditions give rise to what he terms ‘an epidemic of disempowerment’, and he illustrates this through the life of Glasgow-born ‘Jimmy’ whose experiences of disadvantage across the life course lead to his poor health and the risk of an early death. He also outlines six areas for action on the social determinants of health to improve the opportunities for people like Jimmy and help close the health gap.

In eight further infographics we explore with eye-catching facts, statistics and quotes how different social determinants influence our health. Alongside each are supporting blogs and interviews to capture both expert insights and the lived experience of people. These themes are:

By communicating useable data, information and concepts in a fresh and engaging way, we aim to stimulate a wider conversation about the social determinants of health. By presenting these infographics in sharable formats, we also hope that they will be a useful new resource to other organisations working to improve health.

References

  • The relative contribution of multiple determinants to health outcomes. McGovern L, Miller G, Hughes-Cromwick P. Health Policy Brief: Health Affairs. 21 August 2014.
  • Wealth of Nations. Adam Smith.1776

Further reading

Event

Webinar: System mapping as a tool for action

Interested in complex system mapping, but unsure about how it can help you find solutions to public health challenges in your...

Collection

What makes us healthy?

We’re working to change the conversation about what makes us healthy.

You might also like...

Newsletter feature

Two creative partnerships that got people thinking differently about health

Throughout 2018, the Health Foundation is proud to have been involved with two inspiring partnerships, both of which are enco...

Press release

ONS data reveals healthy life expectancy improvements stalling

Health Foundation response to ONS data on health state life expectancies, UK: 2015 to 2017.

Press release

Loneliness is a key risk factor for the future health of young people

Health Foundation response to the Office for National Statistics release on children’s and young people’s experience of lonel...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q Community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more