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What Determines our Health?

Individual and community health is influenced by the conditions in which we grow, live, work and age. These conditions, or determinants of health, include a broad range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to individual, family and community wellness. Improving these conditions often addresses the root cause of many health problems. Our Community Wellness Network brings people together to focus on addressing determinants of health and health inequalities.

Social determinats of health infographic. The words: Education, Income & social statue, employement, childhood experiences, connection to the land, social supports & connections, Diversity & inclusion, housing, food security, accessibility, transportation have each been placed in individual circles that connect to a circle in the middle that says 'health'.
kids looking at laptop screen.

Education & Literacy

Access to quality education for children and lifelong learning for adults are key contributors to health for individuals and for the community. Education contributes to health by equipping people with knowledge and skills for problem solving and can provide a sense of control over life circumstances. Education increases opportunities for employment and income security, and job satisfaction.


Income & Social Status

Health status improves as income and social status increase. Living conditions such as safe housing and the ability to buy enough good food are critical to good health. The healthiest societies are those with populations that are prosperous and have an equitable distribution of wealth. 

Man Working

Employment/Working Conditions

Unemployment, underemployment, and stressful or unsafe work are associated with poorer health.

People who have more control over their work circumstances and fewer stress-related demands of the job are healthier and often live longer than those in more stressful or riskier work and activities.


Childhood Experiences

Child development is a powerful determinant of health as quality early childhood experiences impact lifelong health and well-being. 

Swimming in Natural Hot Spring

Connection to the Land (Land, Water & Environment

Land includes the ocean, air, food and all of nature. Being connected to the land improves our health. We have a responsibility to take care of the land because land and health are closely intertwined– our land is the ultimate nurturer of people.  


Social Supports and Connections

Support from families, friends and community is associated with better health. Strong support networks, both within families and within the community, can increase coping in difficult times. The caring and respect that occurs in social relationships, and the resulting sense of satisfaction and well-being, support physical and mental health.

Mother and Daughter Having Fun

Diversity & Inclusion 

Some persons or groups face additional health challenges due to factors that are outside of their control such as their identity, race, language, ability or culture. Eliminating marginalization and stigmatization will contribute to improved health outcomes.

Coffee Time


Appropriate housing is a necessity for living a healthy life.  Living in safe, affordable and secure housing reduces the risk of many health problems.

Healthy Food

Food Security

When people are food secure and eat a healthy, diverse diet they live with greater dignity and higher physical and mental health.

Accessible Ramp


Accessibility means that everyone can use all the spaces and places in our community. It also means that they can get the information they need. To ensure health and equity for all a community needs to provide the supports and opportunities necessary for people with diverse abilities to participate in their community.



The design of transportation systems significantly impacts physical and psychological well-being by influencing accessibility to services and engagement in communities. Easily walkable, bike-able, transit-oriented communities are associated with healthier populations.

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