Non-Medical Drivers of Health

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Non-Medical Drivers of Health

Non-medical drivers of health are the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect health. Examples include:

  1. Economic stability, including having a well-paying job
  2. Education access and quality, including having a well-funded public school nearby
  3. Health care access and quality, including access to a primary care provider
  4. Neighborhood and built environment, including air quality and safe streets
  5. Social and community context, including relationships with family, friends and coworkers

How Economic Stability Affects Health

Economic stability affects health because it can impact your access to:

How Education Access and Quality Affect Health

People without access to a quality education may lack the skills needed to access health care. They may have a hard time understanding how to take care of their health.

When people don’t understand health information they find online or in brochures, they are less likely to make informed decisions about their care.

People who do not understand health information are more likely to:

  • Skip medical screenings
  • Get treatment in an emergency room
  • Struggle to manage chronic conditions
  • Miss follow-up appointments

How Health Care Quality and Access Affects Health

People with a primary care provider are more likely to attend regular checkups and get screened for diseases like cancer. This gives them a better chance at for overall long-term health.

People without health insurance often don’t have a primary care provider. Because of this, they go without regular checkups or health screenings designed to identify disease and illness in their early stages.

How Neighborhood and Built Environment Affect Health

The places where you are born, age, learn, work and play have an impact on your health.

Neighborhoods with more bike lanes and green spaces encourage outdoor recreation which can lower stress and chronic illness.

Some neighborhoods are more polluted, have higher crime rates, less green space and less infrastructure like sidewalks and bike lanes. These factors can all affect your health.

How Social and Community Context Affect Health

Social and community context refers to people’s relationships and interactions with friends, family, community members and coworkers. Having social support can help reduce risk for poor health outcomes and combat the negative effects of other non-medical of health.

For example, if a child is being bullied, they may not perform well in school. But if that child has support from school administrators, parents and friends, they are more likely to overcome this challenge and avoid the long-term negative impact of bullying.