Striving for Health Equity
Poor choices. Genetics. Luck. Many people view a person’s health status as being connected to these things. It’s true that your family history and the choices you make about healthy eating, exercising and not smoking can impact your health and quality of life.
But our health outcomes are the results of not only those factors but also the influence of things like our education, finances, environment, housing, and transportation. We call these factors the “social determinants of health.” The unequal distribution of resources at the global, national and local levels results in differences in the social determinants of health. These differences lead to health inequities – differences in health outcomes that are unfair and avoidable.
Our choices about healthy behaviors matter – a lot. But everyone does not have the same access to make healthy choices. If you live in an area without a grocery store or vegetable market, it isn’t easy to choose fruits and vegetables. If there are not well maintained sidewalks and good lighting in your neighborhood, it isn’t easy to decide to go for a walk every day.
At LLHD, we believe everyone has the right to make healthy choices. That’s why we work with a variety of partners from other sectors – education, transportation, businesses, health care and others – to improve the conditions in our communities that lead to health inequities.