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Social Determinants

Social determinants are the life circumstances shaped by broader social, economic, environmental, and political factors that cause avoidable health inequalities among groups of people. Widespread awareness of social inequities and their impact emerged in concert with emancipatory initiatives following World War II and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 that established normative standards of justice and equality shared by the global community of nations. Demographic patterns of social inequalities have led public health scholars and policy officials to assert that zip code is destiny; in repeated studies, social and economic factors beyond an individual’s control have proved to be more accurate than genetic code as predictors of health status and longevity. Socially determined health inequities, also referred to as “social disparities” ...

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