Where Health Starts

Most of us think that good health is influenced mainly by:
  • Family genes 
  • Lifestyle choices 
  • Good medical care

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


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