A Focus on Social Determinants of Health

communications intern Sustainability, Why Hunger?

Over the last decade, we have seen a spike in conversations around the social determinants of health. Through our research of these socioeconomic issues, Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) has established that we can impact more than just food insecurity. Working with our community partners, FCE is fighting these issues from a holistic perspective to make a greater impact.

The social determinants of health (SDOH) were established over a decade ago by the World Health Organization and are defined as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life”(1). These determinants were designed to help support the many countries and people impacted by social and economic factors that lead to poor health and inequality. Healthy People 2020 further highlights the importance of addressing SDOH within the United States by finding ways to “create social and physical environments that promote good health for all”(2). As an organizing framework, Healthy People 2020 created five key areas to address these determinants:

  • Neighborhood and built environment: access to food, healthy living conditions, and healthy eating patterns.
  • Health and healthcare: access to healthcare and health literacy.
  • Social and community context: civic participation and social cohesion.
  • Education: language and literacy, access to education, and enrollment in higher education.
  • Economic stability: employment, food insecurity, and poverty.

At FCE, we have an obligation to not just feed people, but address all these determinants in concert with one another. We will influence the future of food insecurity by coupling what we know about the five major SDOH factors with what we learn about our specific Full Cart program population. We identify those in need to improve and resolve individual health outcomes by addressing the root causes. Collaborating with our partners – such as the Cigna Foundation and AARP Foundation that focus on health outcomes – we can address more than just food insecurity while building a conduit for stability. FCE is determined to help solve multiple systemic issues in a more formal way, designed to create a greater social return for those we serve.

1. (n.d.). WHO | Social determinants of health – World Health Organization. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from https://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/ 2. (n.d.). Social Determinants of Health | Healthy People 2020. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health