What Factors Contribute to Health?
There are many factors that contribute to your health. While healthcare is often viewed as one of the most important factors, it has been estimated that medical care contributes only about 20% to overall health. So, what are the other areas or factors that impact health?
There has been increasing emphasis in the healthcare arena on what are referred to as social determinants of health. These are factors such as your level of education, socioeconomic status, employment, marital status, social support system, and where you live – all of which can have a significant impact on your health and well-being. In fact, these social determinants are responsible for 40% of overall health, therefore contribute substantially more than actual healthcare.
The other two major categories that influence health are environment, which is estimated to contribute 10%, and behavioral or lifestyle factors, which complete the picture at 30%. It is the latter that you have the most direct control over.
Whether addressing overall health or more specifically musculoskeletal health, understanding the decisions that you make every day, such as how much exercise or movement that you engage in, what you eat, how much sleep you get – all of these make a big difference in how healthy you are and how you feel – both physically and mentally. Most people are aware of these relationships, but may lack the final commitment to making necessary changes. Changing habits is not easy, but can absolutely be done. The first step is recognizing the need for change. The second step is making a commitment. Then you can focus on setting goals, identifying obstacles, and developing a plan. This process was described previously, and can be found here:
Remember, lifestyle factors are largely within your control. You can be the hero in your move toward better health.
Marcia Spoto PT, DC, OCS