Our health is not defined by access to healthcare, a nearby hospital, what tools are in the hospital, what we eat or even how much exercise we choose to get. “The reality is that the Determinants of Health – environmental, social, educational – contribute just as forcefully if not more so than availability or access to medical care services to enhancing the nature of our health and the health of our community. Where you live determines your health.”
~ Dr. Andrew Pipe, October 23rd, 2008 - Physical Activity Conference, County of Renfrew
A healthy community, therefore, does not revolve around accessible health care, but is one with a physical environment that supports inclusion, equitable access to physical activity opportunities, positive social interaction, and landscapes that inspire and support families and communities to raise strong and resilient children.
It is about the spaces around us, where we live, everyone's access to healthy food, social supports, living conditions and employment.
The following poem below provides a great description on what makes us healthy. It was presented at the Active Play and Physical Activity in the Early Years Workshop by a member of the Physical Activity Network.
Social Determinants of Health
A message of hope for our most vulnerable. To all of you!
Education employment gender and wealth
Housing and culture will impact our health.
The social supports and ones environment
Can help or hinder this constant lament —
Of the stress caused by a social gradient.
But you can help!
Multi‐sector approach is the key to good health —
Where we all work together for community wealth.
When we lay our agendas and policies down —
And develop a plan for the good of all towns.
For the sake of the children (for it is their Right)
A place to play and be active;
Eat well; feel safe in the night.
To be healthy and happy;
to develop and learn.
To be all they can be… is all our concern!
So, I will do my part and you can do yours.
And we will agree to open our doors!
Let ’s open our eyes, our hearts and our minds —
To support those who need us, All people…all kinds!
~ Karen Woods