4 Answers to self-assessment questions

Study Session 1

Question 1.1

Social determinants of health are the economic and social conditions that influence individual and group differences in health status. They are risk factors found in one's living and working conditions (such as the distribution of income, wealth, influence, and power), rather than individual factors (such as behavioural risk factors or genetics) that influence the risk for a disease, or vulnerability to disease or injury. They include early childhood development, education, economic status, employment and decent work, housing environment, and effective prevention and treatment of health problems.

Question 1.2

The social conditions in which people live have a dramatic impact on their health. In fact, circumstances such as poverty, poor schooling, food insecurity, exclusion, social discrimination, bad housing conditions, and deficient sanitation in early childhood and poor occupational skills in adulthood, are all major determining factors of inequality both among and within communities in terms of health, disease and mortality rates.

Question 1.3

Social justice means that the rights of all people in our community are considered in a fair and equitable manner. A focus on social justice aims to reduce the level of health inequities in communities. The four principles of social justice are equity, access, participation and rights.

Question 1.4

You might identify, for example, poverty, poor housing, lack of clean water and sanitation, high unemployment, low wages or discrimination against girls. Action you could take might include raising awareness with families of the impact of these factors on children’s health, ensuring that you do not compound health inequities by discriminating against any group of children, trying to remove the source of the problem, such as encouraging the local community to take action to improve the quality of the water supply, or bring an end to activities that cause it to be polluted.

3.12 Answers to activities

Study Session 2