An introduction to social determinants of health across the life course and workplace well-being

What are social determinants of health (SDOH)?

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are nonmedical factors that influence health outcomes. These determinants are connected to the conditions into which we were born, grow, live, and age, by circumstances during our lives, and by the decisions we make. The SDOH affect many aspects of life, and they can become dominant factors in a person’s health and longevity.


In this report, the determinants identified by the World Health Organization are grouped into five buckets as used in the Healthy People 2030 framework:


  • Economic stability: income and social protection; unemployment and job insecurity; working life conditions.
  • Education access and quality: education; early childhood development.
  • Health care access and quality: access to affordable health services of decent quality.
  • Neighborhood and built environment: food insecurity; housing, basic amenities, and the environment.
  • Social and community context: social inclusion and nondiscrimination; structural conflict.


As demonstrated in this report, some determinants are important regardless of the time of life, while others are more dominant in some life phases than others.


Read the full report

In this report you can learn more about these factors throughout one’s lifetime, as well as tips for employers to improve the quality of life for employees, their families and the community. Focusing on the effects of economic stability, education, access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and the built environment, and social and community context across the life course can be crucial for employee well-being in the workplace.

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