Eight factors for healthy living

Our health is determined by more than medical care and our health care system. Health begins in our homes, neighbourhoods, schools and at work. It is a result of everything we do... where we live, learn, work, and play. These factors are connected and referred to as the social determinants of health. According to the Canadian Medical Association the social determinants of health can have a larger impact on individual and population health than the health care system.  The social determinants are factors that shape our health and are based on our socioeconomic status, our physical environment, our food, and our community and social connections.


People who have more control over their work circumstances and experience fewer stress-related demands in their job are healthier and often live longer than those in more stressful or riskier work and activities.


Access to and the ability to purchase quality food not only impacts physical health and prevention of disease, it also impacts mental wellbeing. Access to information and understanding of resources can have a direct effect on healthy eating.


Our physical environment is an important determinant of health. This includes the air we breathe, the quality of our water, food and soil and exposure to environmental contaminants and their adverse health effects. Safety and security of our neighbourhoods is also a factor.

Family, Friends, Communities

Support from families, friends and communities is important in helping people solve problems and deal with adversity, as well as in maintaining a sense of mastery and control over life circumstances. Inclusion of individuals across our diverse community is an everyday need and opportunity.

Money & Resources

Income determines living conditions such as safe housing and ability to buy healthy food. The healthiest populations are those in societies that are prosperous and have an equitable distribution of wealth.


Reliable and barrier-free transportation plays an important role in a person’s health and ability to access community resources, work, food, education and connect with family and friends.

Education & Skills

Education contributes to health and prosperity by equipping people with knowledge and skills. This increases opportunities for jobs and income security, and job satisfaction and improves people's ability to access and understand information to help keep them healthy.


Living in safe (free of hazards and contaminants), affordable (cost of housing) and secure (guaranteed shelter) housing is a necessity not only for physical health, but also for healthy psychological well-being.