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Social Determinants of Health: Never Judge A Book By The Cover

They want you to believe it’s easy-that you're just not trying hard enough.

All these diets, these fads and gimmicks to have us believing the next thing will be the key to our health and wellness. But what the mainstream ALWAYS fails to see, or chooses to ignore, is that not everyone is created equal…

...or more appropriately, not everyone’s situation is equal.

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. 

  • Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
  • Racism, discrimination, and violence
  • Education, job opportunities, and income
  • Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
  • Polluted air and water
  • Language and literacy skills

Imagine being told to lose weight when you don’t even feel safe in your own home. When you get off the bus after working 12 hours and have to walk the next block in the dark in a bad neighborhood, how can you even think about following an exercise program?

food desert







Knowledge cannot be power without the ability to apply it. Having all the knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating habits mean nothing without access to a grocery store.

“...people who don't have access to grocery stores with healthy foods are less likely to have good nutrition. That raises their risk of health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity — and even lowers life expectancy relative to people who do have access to healthy foods.” - US Department of Health and Human Services

This global issue is well recognized and actionable steps are being developed to combat these inequities.

Now, this article is in no way supporting the excuses of those who do not fit in these categories. There are many of us who can certainly make it work despite our afflictions.

However, we as the fitness community must do a better job being sensitive to the plight of those less fortunate.

Next time you’re at the gym, lend a helping hand and save your judgement. You never know what others are going through.

sdoh graph

1 comment

  • Charmaine Clunis

    You made a great point. We never know what the next person is going gthrough despite their presentation. Help themnif you can but don’t judge them if you cant.

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