What Is the Social Determinants of Good Health?

The concept of health is extremely broad and covers a wide array of factors that affect an individual’s ability to live their life to the fullest. Health, as understood by the World Health Organization, is “an integrated system of beliefs, behaviors and systems that reduce the risk of health problems through management of biological, emotional and environmental influences that affect the physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of the individual.” A number of definitions have also been used over the years for various purposes. For instance, the Department of Health defines health as “the condition of the body at the time of its most healthy condition”, while the Center on the Environment and Public Health definition of health as “a state of health that meets the basic requirements”.


As defined in these two documents, health care is a total approach that incorporates healthy behaviors, healthy practices, and healthy resources. In the United States, a large emphasis is placed on wellness and health promotion. Healthy well-being promotes the maintenance of well-being, through education, counseling, and support of programs that promote health and prevent diseases. In addition, health care contributes to social determinants of health, such as social class, gender, and ethnic categories, as well as cultural differences, which can vary significantly from country to country.

These definitions provide a framework for the way we understand the concepts of good health. For instance, physical environment contributes to the quality of life and overall health of a person, but the quality of life and physical environment cannot be considered the only determinant. Therefore, the factors that make up a good health practice include both the physiological and the emotional elements of well-being. This includes support for the individual and family members, as well as providing opportunities for physical exercise, appropriate diet, regular and reasonable sleep, and an active social environment.