Where You Live, Learn, Work and Play
There are many things that affect our health. Often, our attention has focused on healthcare. But HEALTH is about much more than something we get at the doctor's office or from using hospital services. Researchers have found that the conditions in which we live, learn, work and play are all interconnected and affect our health in a very big way.
Because our health is influenced by our living conditions, not everyone has the same opportunities to be healthy. Research shows that people with lower incomes and education, those who are unemployed or have poor working conditions, or those who don't feel connected and included in their communities have poorer health outcomes. By addressing these living conditions, we can improve health and well-being for everyone.
Housing Affordability and Conditions:
Lack of affordable housing and unsafe housing conditions (i.e., poor indoor air quality, lead paint, and housing hazards) often place people at risk for health problems like asthma, heart disease, cancer, injuries, and Tuberculosis.
Employment and Working Conditions:
Unemployment, job insecurity and working conditions can all contribute to poor physical health (i.e.,high blood pressure, heart disease, injuries) and poor mental health (i.e., depression, anxiety).
Social Connectedness and Belonging:
Being socially connected, and having a sense of belonging helps people feel valued, respected and more able to reach out to, and support others in their communities. Strong social connectedness and belonging are associated with lower rates of unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, lower risk of heart disease and overall better health.
Neighbourhoods that are connected by streets, have good lighting, pathways and parks, allow for more people to be physically active which helps prevent chronic diseases like high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Neighbourhood design can also affect positive mental health by connecting people with opportunities and support.
"Food security" is when people have access to safe, healthy food that they can afford, that they enjoy eating, and can get in ways that make them feel good about themselves. People who lack proper nutrition are more likely to develop chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Children’s physical and mental development is also affected when they are not food secure.
- Making the Connections, Our City, Our Society, Our Health, Wellesley Institute
- Food Security, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
- HungerCount 2013, A Comprehensive report on hunger and food bank use in Canada, and Recommendations for Change
- Social Determinants of Health, The Canadian Facts
- Foodcore: Leeds, Grenville, Lanark
People with more education tend to be healthier than those with less education. Having higher education often means more job opportunities, better job security and working conditions, more income, and better awareness of healthy lifestyles. People, who are better educated, also have more opportunities if their employment situation suddenly changes.