Social Determinants of Health


The Social Determinants Of Health (SDOH) are the places where people live, learn, work, and play and how they affect a person’s health. They include access to healthcare, education, jobs, safe neighborhoods, and a connection to their community. When a person thinks about their health, one typically thinks about getting sick. They think about going to a doctors' office or hospital and taking medication to feel better. 

Did you know that HealthCare only accounts for 20% of your health?


What are the social determinants of health

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What goes into your health? 

The graphic below shows the breakdown of the different factors that go into a person's health:



40% Socioeconomic Factors: Social and economic factors, such as income, education, employment, community safety, and social supports significantly affect how well and how long a person lives. 

  • Education: Access to quality education leads to a person living a longer healthier life. Education affects the types of jobs a person can be and the amount of money a person can earn. 

  • Employment: Employment not only affect the amount of money a person can earn but can affect the type of healthcare a person has and lead to that person making healthier lifestyle choices.  

  • Income: Income provides resources that shape the types of housing, education, child care, food, and health care a person can obtain. 

  • Family & Social Supports: People with greater social support systems with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances live fuller and healthier lives. These support systems lead to greater access to resources and increase the likelihood of a person making healthy positive behavioral choices. 

  • Community Safety: Injuries through accidents and violence are the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of death for people between the age of 1 and 44. A person living in an unsafe neighborhood not only affects their health directly but indirectly as well. It can lead a person to have less social support, lead to a person less likely to go outside for physical activity and lead to stress and trauma which affects a person's mental health.


10% Physical Environment: The physical environment is where a person lives, learns, works and plays. It's about the air they breathe, the water they drink, the houses they live in, and how they travel to work and school.  

  • Air & Water Quality:  Clean air and safe drinking water are required for any community.  When a community does not have these basic requirements, their most vulnerable populations suffer the most such as young children, senior citizens, and people with chronic diseases. 

  • Housing & Transportation: Where a person lives and how they get from one place to another impact everything a person does.  Safe, affordable quality housing and access to transportation are vital not only for an entire community but how a person is able to live their lives on a daily basis. To learn more about how we are addressing affordable housing visit our page on our Housing First Alliance of the Capital Area.  


30% Health Behaviors: Health Behaviors are the actions a person takes that affect their health. They can be things to improve their health (eating healthy or exercising)  or things that hurt their health (smoking, excessive alcohol intake).

  • Tobacco Use: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. 

  • Diet & Exercise: It is important an individual eats healthy and exercises, but it's more important that a person has access to fresh, affordable, healthy food and a safe place to exercise. Learn more about our work to expand access to fresh, affordable, and healthy food through our Geaux Get Healthy Program. Learn more about ways you exercise for free right here in Baton Rouge

  • Alcohol & Drug Use: Drinking alcohol in excess and abusing prescription drugs not only affect a person's health but also their family, friends, and communities health. Learn more about substances abuse and resources that exist in our community by clicking here

  • Sexual Activity:  Sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies have long-term effects on a person's health. Learn more about Sexually transmitted infections by clicking here.

  • Not Enough Sleep: Sleep is important and when a person does not get enough sleep it has been shown to be linked to an increase in chronic health conditions, as well as psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, and even suicide. Although this is a relatively new area of research, HealthyBR has been promoting the importance of sleep through its 5210+10 program which promotes 10 hours of sleep.   


20% Healthcare: Healthcare is both access to care and quality of care for an individual and community. 

  • Access to Care: Access to care is referencing a person's ability to see and affordable health care. This can be measured by the number of people who have health insurance and the number of doctors in a community.  One challenge with access to care is a person can have insurance and a doctor can be located close to where a person lives. If that doctor does not accept that person's insurance, there is no true access. Check out our resource database for healthcare resources.

  • Quality of Care: When we say the quality of care we mean timely (a person can see a doctor in a reasonable amount of time), safe ( a person feels safe when seeing the doctor or they can get to the doctor safely), effective (the doctor is able to address the health corner the person is experiencing) and affordable (do they accept Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance or sliding scale for people who no insurance). Another example is the Right Care for the Right Person at the Right Time.  

Source: County Health Rankings