What Are Some Factors That Affect Community Health?

Some factors that determine the health of a community include the social and economic environment and the physical environment, as stated by the World Health Organization. The WHO suggests that people are unable to control many determinants of health.

One example of how the economic environment impacts community health is income and social status. Higher income and social statuses are linked to better health, according to WHO. Furthermore, the greater the difference between the richest and poorest people in a community, the greater the differences in their health.

Social support networks also impact the health of a community in that greater support from family and friends contributes to better health. Factors in the physical environment that affect community health include safe drinking water, clean air, safe workplaces and adequate housing. Genetic makeup plays a role in determining a person’s lifespan and likelihood for developing certain diseases. Finally, individual behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, contribute to the health of a community.

The WHO Health Impact Assessment presents evidence for determinants of community health. For example, evidence for physical environment impacts includes the number of motor vehicle accidents, pollution caused by fossil fuels, homelessness and urbanization of communities, according to the WHO.