Social, economic, cultural and technological determinants of health



Social, economic, cultural and technological determinants of health

It is said that, “the most powerful force for controlling medical spending is the cost conscious consumer”; however, there are other factors (determinants of health) other than medical care spending that can affect the health of an individual and ultimately the health of a population. Some of these other factors (determinants of health) include lifestyle choices, environmental factors, family history (genetics), where one work and live, one’s income and developments in technology.

Based on the reading from the text books and any other sources that you may have researched kindly present a 500-600 word response/argument to support or oppose the notion that these other factors (determinants of health) mentioned above affects the health of an individual and eventually the health of the population.

As a guide, one can approach the matter from a disparity perspective or from a benefit cost analysis. In other words, express in your own words how you perceive the following factors affecting/impacting one’s health and in the end the health of a nation.

  • 1.     Income and education
  • 2.     Environmental and Lifestyle Factors
  • 3.     Genetic Factors
  • 4.     Access, Affordability and Quality of health care available to an individual

Social, economic, cultural and technological determinants of health

Social, economic, cultural and technological determinants of health

In as much as medical care is a key determinant of health, I support the notion that factors such as lifestyle choices, environmental factors, genetics or family history, one’s income, where one works and lives and technological developments are also crucial determinants of individual health and ultimately the health of a population. According to Braveman and Gottlieb (2014), substantial research has linked income, educational attainment, working conditions and one’s neighborhood with health outcomes throughout the life course. For instance, people’s physical environments in  terms of the places they live or their neighborhoods can influence health through physical characteristics, including water and air quality, safe houses, access to parks and exposure, as well as, the availability and quality of neighborhood services such as schools, housing, mutual trust and employment resources. The social relationships that individuals have with their geographic community also have an impact on their healthy, for example, mutual trust has been linked to lower homicide rates (Williams and Collins, 2001).

Another aspect of a persons’ physical environment that determines his or her health outcome is working conditions. The physical aspects of work, that is, occupational safety and health can influence people’s health by affecting their risk of obesity and obesity-related chronic conditions such as heart disease and disorder, as well as, musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Moreover, psychological aspects of works such as perceived imbalance of efforts and rewards, physical conditions in which people work such as noise level and ventilation, as well as, social aspects such as mutual understanding and support among coworkers have all been linked to health. It is also vital to note that employment-related earnings and work-related benefits also influence the health-related decisions that people make for themselves and their families as Egerter et al. (2008) reveal.Social, economic, cultural and technological determinants of health

When it comes to income, wealth and social status, higher income, wealth and social status are associated with better health (WHO, 2018). However, the effect of income, wealth and social status on individuals’ health is contingent on various factors such as racial/ethnic differences, educational attainment and quality, subjective social status, working and living conditions, as well as, lifestyle choices. For instance, the lifestyle choices of a person in terms of personal behavior and coping skills affect his or her health, irrespective of his or her income. In as much as a person may be wealthier and have access to better health care than a low-income person, lifestyle choices such as balanced eating, exercising, drinking, smoking and coping with life’s challenges and stresses can cause all of them to have the same health risks, for instance, obesity and diabetes due to high junk food and sugar intake.

Family history plays a role in determining healthiness, lifespan and the likelihood of people developing certain maladies based on the genes they inherit from their families, for instance, recessive genes can manifest in the form of diseases and conditions such as albinism, autism, diabetes among others when passed on to children. Technological development have open a whole new world to how people’s health can be monitored and diseases prevented or cured before they can become terminal. However, the effect of technology on health depends on their accessibility and individuals’ exposure to these technologies. It should be noted that these determinants of health can be conceptualized as influencing health at discordant levels throughout the life course. This means that the influence of these social, economic, cultural and technological factors on health entails dimensions of both place, that is, various levels of exposure and time, that is crucial stages in the life course and the impacts of cumulative exposure.

Social, economic, cultural and technological determinants of health







Works Cited

Braveman, P., & Gottlieb, L. (2014). The Social Determinants of Health: It’s Time to Consider the Causes of the Causes. Public Health Reports, 129(1_suppl2), 19-31.

Egerter, S., Dekker, M., An, J., Grossman-Kahn, & Braverman, P. (2008). Issue Brief 4: Work Matters for Health. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

WHO. (2018). The determinants of health. Retrieved 22 February 2018, from

Williams, D., & Collins, C. (2001). Racial residential segregation: A fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public Health Reports, 116(5), 404-416.