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Health Disparities Matter

Health Disparities Matter


Health disparities are defined as the differences in health outcomes and their determinants between different segments of the population which are defined by social, demographic, environmental, and geo- graphic attributes. Health inequalities, a term that is sometimes used interchangeably with health disparities, refers to a summary measure of population health associated with individual or group specific at- tributes such as income education or race/ethnicity. Health inequities are a subset of health inequalities that are modifiable, associated with social disadvantage, and considered ethically unfair.

Social Determinants of Health

The health of an individual is determined by more than their genetic makeup and the lifestyle choices that they make. While both play a role in health outcomes, there are also structural and social forces in a person’s life, which they may have little control over, that impact health outcomes. These factors are called the Social Determinants of Health. Looking at these determinants can help to understand health disparities and ways to address them.