Health Equity - What Can You Do?
Health equity is about trying to decrease the differences in health between groups of people in our community. It is often defined as “the absence of unfair and avoidable or modifiable differences in health among population groups defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically”.1 The gap between the least healthy and the most healthy can be narrowed with an end result of improved health for the entire community.
Health is determined primarily by where we live, learn, work and play. Income, education, employment, working conditions, social support networks and physical environments are some of the factors that impact the development of healthy individuals and communities. These factors and others are known as social determinants of health.
What can you do to promote and support health equity?
- Take note of how the media in all its forms (television, print, radio, Twitter, Facebook) presents stories about health in our community.
- Reflect on how you think about health. Have you considered factors beyond individual lifestyle choices? What is your neighbourhood like? Do you feel a sense of belonging there? What kind of recreation is available? Are there opportunities for people to connect with each other? Are there green spaces and how are they used? What about schools and their play spaces? What do some of these factors mean to you and your health?
- Start some conversations with your neighbours, friends and family about the determinants of health. Share some of the information that you have uncovered. You can share Let’s Start a Conversation About Health and Not Talk About Health Care At All and Poor No More using social media (e.g. Twitter and Facebook).
- Consider the possibility of joining organizations that are taking action to contribute to the overall community and its well-being.
- Take political action. Attend community events that explore issues such as poverty and homelessness. Email, call or write your municipal, provincial and federal representatives to determine their positions, as well as to give your feedback about planned actions and policies.
Date of creation: February 28, 2013
Last modified on: February 6, 2015
11 Solar, O. & Irwin, A. (2007). A conceptual framework for action on the social determinants of health. Geneva: World Health Organization.