Where Health Starts

Most of us think that good health is mainly influenced by:

  • Having timely access to quality healthcare services
  • Lifestyle choices such as what we eat, the amount of exercise we get, whether we smoke, and how much alcohol we drink.

However, our social conditions and economic opportunities account for at least  50% of death and disease external link pdf 773KB. The less money we make, the more likely we are to also have chronic health problems such as:

  • Depression 
  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes 

While access to quality health care will always be important, it is time for us to think about preventing people from getting sick in the first place. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation External Link we must understand that health starts in: Family walking home from the market

  • Strong loving families 
  • Neighbourhoods with sidewalks safe for walking 
  • Grocery stores with fresh vegetables 
  • Jobs we can get to without hours of commuting 
  • Workplaces free of unnecessary hazards 
  • Schools that educate our children for 21st century jobs 
  • Having time and resources to play at the end of a hard day’s work

Information about factors that Halton residents believe have the greatest influence on health is found in the 2013 Attitudes and Beliefs about Social Determinants of Health Report.

Jason’s story external link shows how a complex set of factors influence our health. These factors are called the social determinants of health  external link and include:

  • Income and Social Status 
  • Education and Literacy
  • Employment and Working Conditions
  • Healthy Child Development