Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

National Academies

January 11, 2017

 

Health equity is the state in which everyone has the opportunity to attain full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or any other socially defined circumstance. Currently in the United States, the burdens of disease and poor health and the benefits of well-being and good health are inequitably distributed with negative consequences for the nation’s wellbeing, prosperity, and economic competitiveness. Although some aspects of a person’s health status depend on individual behaviors and choice, health is also shaped by community-wide factors, and research shows that problems like poverty, unemployment, low educational attainment, inadequate housing, lack of public transportation, exposure to violence, and neighborhood deterioration (social or physical) shape health and contribute to health inequities.
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