Australia: the environment that we live in influences our health
Maintaining health and preventing ill health
The organisation determinantsofhealth.org informs us that there are 5 key determinants of health that impact on our health and well-being. Some are more easily modified than others.
- Social circumstances (24%): e.g. socioeconomic status (SES), gender, race and ethnicity, social status, social connectedness, discrimination, early childhood education and development, occupation and education level.
- Genetics and biology (22%): e.g. body structure (age, height, weight), body function (bone density, blood pressure, movement and balance, fitness), genetics (chromosomal, single gene, multifactorial)
- Medical care (11%): e.g. quality of healthcare, access to healthcare, health literacy, and patient engagement.
- Physical environment (7%): e.g. pollution (air and water quality), allergens, exposure to firearms, location (crime level, access to healthy foods, job and education opportunities, walkability).
- Individual behaviour (36%): e.g. negative mood and affect (levels of stress, hopelessness, anxiety and depression), drug use (alcohol, tobacco, other substances), sleep patterns, diet patterns, physical activity, psychological level (conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism level, life satisfaction level) and other risk behaviours (gun behaviour, motor vehicle behaviour and sexual activity).
What this means is that we can have a massive impact on our own health. Let’s look again. According to this chart, the weighted effects of your circumstances—education level, living social connectedness, impacts 24 percent of your health status.
Your individual behavior, what you eat, how active you are, the risks you take, has the largest influence overall health at 36 percent.
Genes and biology influence your health status at 22 percent. Knowing your history or having checks and screens can actually minimize risk or detect an issue early.
Medical care influences our health at 11 percent—we have good medical care in Australia.
And we have good a good physical environment in Australia which influences health at 7 percent.
This information is telling you that it is time to take charge. You can do this!