Health is determined by a complex interaction between genetic inheritance, health behaviours, access to quality healthcare and the social determinants of health. It is the
social determinants that make the biggest impact on health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the social determinants of health as ‘the conditions, in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of
forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and
political systems’ (WHO 2012).
The social determinants are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources and are mostly responsible for health inequities – the health inequalities that are unfair
This report investigates inequalities in the social determinants of health and how these impact on the health of Victorians, mainly focusing on the social determinants referred to collectively as ‘social capital’. Social capital is defined as the ‘resources that are accessed by individuals as a result of their membership of a network or a group’ (Berkman et al. 2014).