Health, whether of an individual, a family, a neighbourhood or an entire region, is the result of many factors. Health is the product of many interconnected influences, external and internal, that are part of our lives, communities, and environments. Within public health, we refer to these influences as the determinants of health.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified these 12 key determinants of health:
In Niagara, variations within and across municipalities in the determinants of health (e.g. differences in household incomes, employment stresses, housing, local environmental conditions, etc.) result in differences in health needs, opportunities and outcomes. The determinants of health underpin our public health planning, strategies, and program delivery.
Whether it is regarding the development of poverty reduction strategy, an interaction with a new mom and baby, or school-based programming, we need to be constantly aware of and mindful of the health impacts of the determinants of health.
The impact of the determinants of health is a common thread throughout the themes of the Health Story of Niagara. The truth is that an individual will have the capacity to lead a healthier, more engaged life when they are part of a community that strives to build and sustain the needed resources, supports, and partnerships encompassed in challenges of improving strengthening the determinants of health.