Health Determinants

Health determinants refer to factors that impact people’s health status. The range of factors falls into five categories: social factors, biology and genetics, health services, policymaking, and individual behavior. The interconnection between these factors that predict a people’s health. Individual determinants refer to a person’s conduct which acts as interventions to either contribute or deteriorate their health status. Examples of individual determinants include drug use, involvement in physical activities and dietary options. On the other hand, family determinants refer to biological factors such as genetics which make other people to either be prone to contract or not contract diseases. Some of these factors include age, HIV status, sex and inherent sicknesses such as sickle cell ailment and hemophilia (Determinants of Health, 2019). For example, the sick cell anemia is inherent if both parents of an offspring are sickle cell gene carriers.

Policymaking contributes to health status at federal, local and state levels and eventually assists in molding an individual’s behavior. An excellent example is an increase in tax for tobacco sales aid in improving the health status by minimizing the number of individuals who smoke. Notably, some of these policies impact the lives of populations over long, for instance, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. The act gave a mandate to the federal government to put up standards particularly for motor vehicles such as seat belts which managed to decrease death rates and injuries (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Health services is another health determinant that involves the ease of access to quality health services which affects human health. Factors such as high costs and inability to pay for health insurance result in unmet health service needs such as preventive and curative services.

Community determinants are either physical or social factors which tend to affect a variety of health outcomes and functioning. Social determinants refer to the social conditions of a people’s living environment of a people. Examples of social determinants include societal norms and values, exposure to mass media and crimes, poverty levels thus able to meet the basic needs and social interactions (Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2010). Physical determinants consist of factors such as aesthetic elements (like good lighting), neighborhoods, natural environment (plants and climatic changes) and physical barriers (disabled people). Health status results frequently get determined by the interaction of people and physical and social surroundings.  An excellent example of community-level determinants involves societies that live in areas of air pollutants which causes the formation of the ozone layer. Such air pollution triggers contamination of asthma among people.

Due to the several roles and diversity in nursing practice, nurses are prone to encounter people of different cultural traditions and values. Furthermore, regardless of all these encounters nurses are obligated to provide competent care to patients. The act of delivering sensitive aesthetic care sounds complicated especially if the cultural practices and belief system of the patient are unknown to the nurse. Therefore, great approaches to ensure the provision of capable and competent care to patients include cross-cultural knowledge and education and training. Cross-cultural knowledge approach involves the nurses gaining knowledge based on values, practices perspectives, family systems and community systems of cultural diversity and traditions. The experience allows the nurse to comprehend complex variables that impact a people’s well-being. Education of knowledge and necessary skills to provide competent cultural sensitive health care ensures congruent and culturally sensitive health practice. The two approaches ensure nursing practice provides qualified sensitive aesthetic care at individual, family and community levels.





Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Achievements in public health, 1900–1999 motor-vehicle safety. Retrieved from

Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from

Determinants of Health | Healthy People 2020. (2019). Retrieved from

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