What affects your health? Many things

Having insurance is important to people’s health, but other factors also have a significant impact.

Dr Harry Heiman
Dr. Harry Heiman

They include education, economic stability, physical environment and access to healthy food, notes Dr. Harry Heiman of Morehouse School of Medicine in a new report, written with Samantha Artiga with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A broad approach in addressing these “social determinants of health” will help improve health outcomes and “achieve health equity,” the authors say.

“Health behaviors, such as smoking and diet and exercise, are the most important determinants of premature death,’’ Heiman and Artiga write. “Moreover, there is growing recognition that a broad range of social, economic, and environmental factors shape individuals’ opportunities and barriers to engage in healthy behaviors.”

Here is a link to their issue brief.