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Wider determinants of health


Beyond the biological factors that cause disease, there is growing appreciation of the breadth of other determinants that impact on health. These wider determinants have gained greater attention recently and have been the focus of work by the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health and many other initiatives and programmes. Such determinants include, inter alias, income, social status, working conditions, education, culture, social and physical environments, women and gender equity, early child development, health systems, globalization and social support networks.

What the Global Forum does

The Global Forum has been

  • collaborating with different groups, including the nine Knowledge Networks of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants, to ensure that the new agendas of research on the social determinants of health now emerging are fully developed, prioritized and implemented;
  • highlighting the research gaps on climate change and health. Changing patterns of climate pose some of the greatest threats to social determinants of health -- such as income, working conditions, physical environments, gender equity, early child development, urbanization -- for the poorest and most marginalized populations;
  • advocating for more research priority setting in the field of occupational health, which will help focus research on how best to protect precarious workers in the informal sector;
  • mainstreaming wider determinants of health in all aspects of its work, including organizing relating sessions during its annual forums.