January 13, 2014
Public Health Agency “What Determines Health?”
"Why is Jason in the hospital?
Because he has a bad infection in his leg.
But why does he have an infection?
Because he has a cut on his leg and it got infected.
But why does he have a cut on his leg?
Because he was playing in the junk yard next to his apartment building and there was
some sharp, jagged steel there that he fell on.
But why was he playing in a junk yard?
Because his neighbourhood is kind of run down. A lot of kids play there and there is no
one to supervise them.
But why does he live in that neighbourhood?
Because his parents can't afford a nicer place to live.
But why can't his parents afford a nicer place to live?
Because his Dad is unemployed and his Mom is sick.
But why is his Dad unemployed?
Because he doesn't have much education and he can't find a job.
But why ...?"
Answering questions like these involves more than just increased spending on health
o We should broaden our views towards health interventions
o We need to look at the big picture of health to examine factors both inside
and outside the health care system that affect our health
• Determinants of health; health is determined by complex interactions between
social and economic factors, the physical environment and individual behavior.
o Their combined influ