When you contribute to the health
and wellness of where you live,
BY CLAIRE BIDDISCOMBE
of sleep, and you make sure your family does the same. You
make appointments for annual physical checkups, visit the dentist
regularly and get your flu shot every year.
In short, you make every effort to ensure that you and
your family are as healthy as possible. But what about your
of their environment and the community is a huge part of that
for Health Promotion Studies in the School of Public Health at
typically direct health advice and recommendations to an
individual, but a person’s surroundings play a huge role in
determining whether a person can, or, will take that advice.
Predy, Alberta’s senior medical officer of health.
At the basic level, a healthy community offers residents the
necessities of life and a feeling of security.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has published 12 widely
recognized factors or determinants that influence health. These
include socioeconomic factors, such as income and social
status; the level of education and literacy; and having satisfactory
employment and safe working conditions.
Other factors include the availability of health services; the
quality of your physical environment; the availability of social
support networks; and the broader social environment, such as
societal values and relationships within a community.
Some determinants are based on personal choices and
experiences, including personal health practices and coping skills;
healthy childhood development; and how your culture informs
your ability to access the services you need and participate in the
community in a meaningful way.
Two determinants—biology and genetic endowment, and
gender—are modifiable but not always in your direct control.