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.

A voice for future generations in Wales

Newsletter feature
26 February 2020

Sophie Howe is Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, overseeing implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. 

Government must take action to level up the health and wellbeing of the population

Press release
25 February 2020

Health Foundation response to the launch of Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years On.

Highlighting the health inequalities faced by young people in the UK

14 February 2020

Ann Hagell and Rahkee Shah from the Association of Young People's Health explores inequalities faced by young people in the UK based on health-specific data for those aged 10–24.

One in three employees report being in low-quality jobs

Press release
4 February 2020

New Health Foundation research finds that one in three UK employees report being in low-quality jobs. The analysis also shows that people in low-quality jobs are much more likely to have poor health a...

Webinar: The NHS as an anchor

31 January 2020

This webinar expands upon the findings of our recent report 'Building healthier communities: the role of the NHS as an anchor institution'.

New Conservative seats and the healthy life expectancy gap

19 December 2019

Find out how newly-won Conservative constituencies compare when it comes to the health of the people living there, and what the new government needs to focus on in order to improve health.

The missing lonely

18 December 2019

Recent data sheds light on loneliness in the UK using new indirect measures. These indicate that the population of lonely people is 13%, larger than the 9% identified from the direct measures alone. T...

Citizens Advice Ways to Wellbeing for All

Improvement project

This project will involve scaling up the Liverpool APP approach, which provides a social treatment option for primary care teams to address underlying causes of ill health, for example financial hards...

Health priorities for the new government

9 December 2019

Our infographic showing what we think is needed from the new government to ensure a healthier population, supported by high quality health and social care.

New statistics show a wide difference in healthy life expectancy across the UK

Press release
29 November 2019

Health Foundation response to ONS statistics on healthy life expectancy

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

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