Social determinants of health

The social (or wider) determinants of health refer to the social, cultural, political, economic, commercial and environmental factors that shape the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age


Some key social determinants of health are: our education and employment opportunities; our housing; our social networks; and where we live and the extent it facilitates exercise, a good diet and social connection. The Health Foundation’s programme of work on healthy lives complements our portfolio of work to improve health care delivery, and draws on our experience of making change happen in complex systems.

Our recent work and content on this topic is listed below.

Young people’s suggestions for the assets needed in the transition to adulthood

Working paper
March 2019

This paper presents an overview on if the research literature has paid as much attention to the transition to adulthood compared with experiences during the teenage years

The Marmot Review 10 Years On

27 February 2019

Sir Michael Marmot blogs about stalling life expectancy increases and the importance of tackling the health inequalities that underlie it

Watch: The Marmot Review 10 Years On

25 February 2019

Watch Professor Sir Michael Marmot and Dr Jennifer Dixon explain why this review is needed.

Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On


The Health Foundation and the Institute of Health Equity are working on an analysis of health inequalities in England and update of the Marmot Review to be published in February 2020, on the 10-year a...

Reframing the conversation on the social determinants of health

February 2019

Analysis of public understanding, expert opinion and the media narrative around health, based on research by the FrameWorks Institute, commissioned by the Health Foundation.

Health Foundation selects five projects for new programme on taking action on the social determinants of health

6 February 2019

The Health Foundation has selected five projects to take part in its new programme to improve people’s health by taking action on the social determinants of health.

Creating ACE-informed places: promoting a whole-system approach to tackling adverse childhood experiences in local communities

Improvement project
Apply now

This project is aiming to improve how effectively public services in England prevent and mitigate the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences.

The Community Spirit Level

Improvement project
Apply now

This project will involve the development of a ‘Community Spirit Level’; a tool that can be used to measure the factors in a locality that make up community spirit.

Community Assets, Participation and Integration: Taking Action Locally (CAPITAL)

Improvement project
Opens Apr 2019

This project will test the impact of an asset-based community development approach on building the social networks of social housing tenants and people seeking sanctuary.

Better Together: Improving the health of older people in Swansea

Improvement project
Apply now

This project will involve working with communities to co-design and deliver a small-scale test and learn project to evaluate the impact of weekly community-based group meetings on the health of partic...

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