Equitably Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Chronic Diseases

Graphic of an atom with a person in the middle

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes.1,2 They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping daily life. These forces and systems include, but are not limited to, economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, racism, climate change, and political systems.

Learn more about innovative approaches at CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) to build healthier communities by reducing chronic diseases and related health disparities for population groups affected by health inequities.

Advancing Health Equity by Addressing the Social Determinants of Health

Unfair and unjust differences in SDOH contribute to chronic disease disparities in the United States among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups,3 limiting opportunities for members of some groups to be healthy.4 Equitably addressing differences in SDOH helps make progress toward health equity, a state in which every person has the fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.5

Related Health Equity Resources

  1. World Health Organization. Social determinants of health. Accessed August 1, 2022. https://www.who.int/health-topics/social-determinants-of-health#tab=tab_1
  2. US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Social determinants of health. Accessed August 24, 2022. https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/social-determinants-health
  3. Braveman P, Egerter S, Williams D. The social determinants of health: coming of age. Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;32:381–398. doi:10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101218
  4. Braveman P, Gottlieb L. The social determinants of health: it’s time to consider the causes of the causes. Public Health Rep. 2014;129 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):19–31. doi:10.1177/00333549141291S206
  5. Braveman P, Gruskin S. Defining equity in health. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57(4):254–258. doi:10.1136/jech.57.4.254