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.

The government's strategy is likely to be a missed opportunity to address the root causes of obesity

Press release
27 July 2020

The Health Foundation response to the government's new obesity strategy.

Low income workers at greater risk of unemployment and mounting ill-health as furlough scheme unwinds

Press release
25 July 2020

New analysis by the Health Foundation reveals that an economic crisis is likely to have unequal impact on people with the lowest incomes.

What can former ‘red wall’ areas tell us about the link between food environments and obesity?

21 July 2020

There are multiple causes of obesity, but people’s exposure to them are not the same across the country. This analysis explores the unequal exposure to potential causes of obesity between traditional ...

Discrimination is a key factor behind the disproportionate impact of COVID-19

Press release
16 June 2020

Health Foundation response to Public Health England report on the impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic groups.

The pandemic is having an unequal impact on our already unequal society

Press release
12 June 2020

Health Foundation response to ONS data on deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation.

Overcrowding is highest for those with low incomes

13 May 2020

People in lower income households are more likely to be in overcrowded accommodation than those in higher income households.

Inequalities and discrimination likely to be playing a significant role in higher rate of black and minority ethnic COVID-19 deaths

Press release
7 May 2020

Health Foundation response to ONS data on COVID-19 related deaths by ethnic group for England and Wales.

Nine ways we’re supporting the health and care system during the pandemic

Newsletter feature
30 April 2020

At the Health Foundation we are mobilising support for the health and care system to help in as many ways as we can in the fight against COVID-19, with a flurry of new work taking place over the last ...

Making messages work

21 April 2020

We explore the research literature underpinning the communications principles to help public health advocates deliver more effective and memorable messages.

Practitioner led evidence at Bromley by Bow

Research project

This project is aiming to embed evidence and learning from previous research within practices at both Bromley by Bow in East London and with other organisations throughout the UK.

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The Q community

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

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