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Determinants of Health

As we have previously examined how we can define “health” and have determined that health is a much more complex idea than just a simple state of being, we can delve into what can affect ones health and what predeterminants can define your health throughout your life.

Determinants of health are defined by the government of Canda as “the broad range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors that determine individual and population health.” (Public Health Agency of Canada). The government of Canada list some determinants of health as; income/social status, education, childhood experiences, physical environment, access to health services, genetics, gender, culture and race (Public Health Agency of Canada). Another determinant of health in Canada can be summed up as one's housing, food and employment security and quality of working conditions (Raphael, 2004)). Canada is of the healthiest countries in the world, yet we still have discrepancies within our population when it comes to health (Public Health Agency of Canada). Using these as our determinants of health it becomes easier to understand the inequalities of health in Canada considering we have universal healthcare. These determinants of health help explain how we are healthier than countries like America, where they do not have universal healthcare, yet not as healthy as some Northern European countries, where they also have universal healthcare, but also may have better living and work conditions (Raphael, 2004).

Similarly, Quebec determinants of health can be defined as; income, education, housing, and other socioeconomic factors (Wilson, 2001). These determinants of health are almost identical to those defined by the Canadian government, which further highlights the deep-rooted issues of Canadian health and gives us a better idea of what needs to be targeted t improve not only our healthcare system but our overall population health.


(1) Raphael, D. (2004) Social Determinants of Health, Canadian Perspectives. Canadian Scholars Press Inc., Toronto.

(2) Public Health Agency of Canada. Social Determinants of Health and Health Inequalities -

(3) Wilson K, Jerrett M, Eyles J. Testing Relationships among Determinants of Health, Health Policy, and Self-Assessed Health Status in Quebec. International Journal of Health Services. 2001;31(1):67-89. doi:10.2190/BW3R-89N6-JNRP-FUEG

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