Watching Your Well-Being: What Social Factors Impact Our Health?

Watching Your Well-Being: What Social Factors Impact Our Health?

Watching Your Well-Being: What Social Factors Impact Our Health?

When it comes to watching out for our well-being, certain social factors can have dramatic impacts on our overall health. Perhaps most importantly, our socioeconomic status can affect both our quality of life and our well-being.

But what are the social determinants that dictate our socioeconomic status, and ultimately, our health? Some of these factors include our income, whether we have access to safe and sanitary housing, nutritious food sources, and quality healthcare, as well as how much support we receive from our social networks.

Stay with us as we discuss.

Social Determinants of Health and How They Impact Our Well-Being

According to public health experts and studies by the World Health Organization, social factors such as our income, housing conditions, food security, access to healthcare, and level of social connectedness, account for up to 55% of health outcomes.

Let’s explore these factors in further detail.

Salary, Wage, or Income

If we have a low income, our health can suffer. This fact has been well documented, with recent studies having found that lower-income earners experience consistently lower mental health and levels of physical well-being than their wealthier counterparts.

Why? If you earn a low wage, your quality of life can be comparatively low (when compared to higher-income earners). Financial strain and pressure can cause a significant amount of stress. There also are fewer opportunities for uplifting and mood-boosting activities in our downtime, due to having less disposable income. This can result in a reduced sense of work/life balance, which can cause emotional burnout.

The truth? We need to be able to enjoy our lifestyles to cultivate optimal mental and emotional health. If we are feeling unwell mentally, we are also more likely to neglect our physical health.

Access to Safe Housing

Substandard housing conditions and inequalities in housing can also contribute to poor health. What does this mean? If we don’t have access to safe, quality housing, this can have a huge impact on our physical and mental well-being, for example:

  • Inadequate and unsafe housing facilities can cause injuries such as falling, which can be fatal in older adults.
  • Moldy and unsanitary living conditions can expose inhabitants to a greater risk of developing chronic and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and other respiratory conditions.
  • Inhabitating housing that does not make us feel safe, comfortable, or at ease, can increase our susceptibility to developing mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

Food Security

When we can’t afford to feed ourselves with nutritious, nourishment-rich dietary sources, our health is, naturally, affected. With cost of living increases and soaring supermarket prices being experienced worldwide, lower-income earners are often forced to cut out nutrient-supplying food sources and opt for cheaper eats – like instant noodles, canned beans, and high-carb fillers – instead.

The payoff? Our nourishment, physical health, and energy levels suffer.

Access to Quality Healthcare

Having access to quality medical treatment and care shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a right. But sadly, more and more of us are finding healthcare costs out of reach, and avoiding much-needed medical checkups as a result. When choosing between paying for a doctor’s appointment or feeding the family, often, the latter must take priority.

A possible solution? Training up more medical staff like doctors and nurses through industry accreditations like online nurse practitioner programs so that healthcare resources can be less stretched, more available, and more accessible to low-income earners.

Social Network and Support

Finally, social connectedness. Being socially connected can do much to support our physical and mental health; conversely, social isolation can have detrimental effects on our health.

Why? Social isolation can cause feelings of intense loneliness, which can lead people to develop mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Unsupported and disconnected, when we are intensely lonely and isolated, we cannot function optimally.

Considering the impacts of social factors on our well-being is important. Why? Being aware of these issues can help counteract the problem, and support individuals in reaching optimal health.

To recap the common social determinants of health:

Lower incomes can affect both our mental and physical health and our quality of life. Limited access to safe, sanitary housing and nutritious food sources can result in illness and disease. Just as important is receiving emotional support from our social networks. Without it, we are at risk of developing mental conditions such as loneliness, anxiety, and depression.