Health Equity

What Shapes People's Health?

It is important to have good health. We often hear about ways to improve our health and how good health will help us live a longer, better, and more enjoyable life. So how exactly do we achieve good health?

Good health is affected by the lifestyle choices we make, including the food we eat, the amount of exercise we get, whether we smoke, and how much alcohol we drink. Our health is also determined by a good health care system, with access to doctors, hospitals, and safe medicines. 

However, statistics show different health outcomes for different groups of people. For example, people with more money tend to live longer, healthier lives than people with less money. This suggests that achieving good health involves more than lifestyle choices and healthcare. There are other conditions that affect our opportunity for good health, such as income and the surroundings in which we live. Health studies indicate that people who experience difficult social and economic conditions in life are at greater risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. In fact, social and economic conditions account for 50% of people’s health.


What Are These Social and Economic Conditions?

These conditions include, but are not limited to, income, affordable housing, access to healthy foods, opportunities for education, job availability and security, and support networks in a community. These conditions are called the Social Determinants of Health.

To learn more about the effects of the social determinants of health; watch this short video from the Wellesley Institute:

How do the Social Determinants Affect the Health of the Thunder Bay District?

Our unique northern geographical location provides us with beautiful wilderness. However, we also experience extreme weather, more isolation, and less access to goods and health care services. We have a diverse population of people, including our Indigenous communities, our Finnish, Italian, Ukrainian, and Francophone families, and many more multi-cultural people. Each has their own experiences and priorities when it comes to protecting their health. Our diversity of language skills, literacy, religion, and cultural practices has the potential to enhance good health. Unfortunately, it may also create barriers to good health.

Learn more about how the social determinants affect the health of Thunder Bay District by visiting our Profile of Social Determinants of Health in Thunder Bay District


For Further Information

Call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630

Last Updated: 30/10/2023