Date: July 22, 2018

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Determinants of Health

Determinants of Health Homepage

A Conversation about Health - video page

Health Impact: Food Security

Health Impact: Income

Health Impact: Housing

Health Impact: Working Conditions

Determinants of Health

This page was reviewed or revised on Thursday, August 25, 2016 11:49 AM

What determines health?

The majority of Canada believes that good health is determined by a quality health care system, genetics, and lifestyle choices such as good nutrition and exercise1.

Despite having universal access to health care, Canadians experience different levels of health.


When you think about it, we only access health care when we are already sick. Our health is determined 25% by health care and 15% by genetics. The remaining 60% is determined by factors outside of the health care system2, such as:

  • our neighbourhood
  • our schools
  • our job
  • our physical environments

These factors are called the determinants of health - they shape our ability to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.

To learn more about these factors and the determinants of health check out the 5-minute video, A Conversation about Health.

Examples of things that can impact your health:

  • not being able to read
  • not having enough money to afford the basics
  • having a low-paying job or being unemployed
  • sub-standard living conditions
  • poor-quality drinking water
  • suffering from high stress
  • having a different ethnic background
  • living far from a grocery store
  • feeling isolated in our community

Our health and well-being is shaped each day by our living and work conditions. These conditions don't work in isolation - in fact, they are all part of an interconnected web.

Fact Sheet: Determinants of Health (PDF)

Information on Health Impacts

Income and Social Status

Contact Lambton Public Health, and ask for a Public Health Nurse working in the Social Determinants of Health program. Call 519-383-8331 or toll-free 1-800-667-1839

1 Canadian Medical Association (2012). 12th Annual National Report Card on Health Care
2 Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2011)