Social determinants of health: the indicators for measuring the impact of poverty on health

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Social determinants of health: the indicators for measuring the impact of poverty on health

Introduction: The link between poverty and health is an important research topic of national and international organisations, including the WHO, which has issued several important reports that proved the impact of social determinants on people's health, of which poverty was one of the most important. The aim of this article is to define the indicators of the social determinants of health, which is important for better planning and policy-making.

Method: data was gathered through the comparative analysis of different sources of socioeconomic indicators, which are presented schematically, ranked in the structural field and analysed from the perspective of their impact on health.

Results: Indicators are divided into ten different fields that present a socioeconomic determinant of health. The fields are: material deprivation (including income and other material items necessary for everyday living), followed by social capital, (un)employment, housing and homelessness, education and profession, living environment, health, crime and safety, accessibility and ethnicity. The table includes 100 indicators that are used in various states for planning and policy-making. The extent and diversity of the indicators shows the complexity of the social determinants of health, which are often overlooked or are insufficiently understood.

Conclusion: Poverty is a structural problem with an important impact on health. Because living in poverty is a specific way of life, ways of tackling the problem of poverty are also specific. They have to include relations of power, the accessibility of resources and opportunities to escape from the poverty. Health plays an important role in that but it depends on the capabilities and readiness of the states to ensure this for all people regardless of their social status, material wealth or other circumstances. The list of indicators can contribute to achieving that goal.

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