Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. They are the forces that affect our decision-making and ability to carry out those decisions.

In terms of FASD prevention, the social determinants of health affect whether a woman has the literacy skills to understand written information about alcohol during pregnancy, whether physicians and midwives have the training to effectively and sensitively address the subject of alcohol during pregnancy, whether overall public policy curtails inappropriate alcohol marketing, whether women have access to healthy and affordable food in their community… You get the idea.

Talking about the social determinants of health shifts our understanding of the causes of the issues we face and opens up a whole wealth of solutions.

A five-minute YouTube video on the importance of community and the social determinants of health has been produced by the Sudbury and District Health Unit. The video “Let’s Start a Conversation About Health…and Not Talk About Health Care At All” addresses the significance of income and the importance of education, employment, housing and social supports to the health of individuals.

To learn more about the video and social determinants of health and health inequities, visit

For more on thinking about the relationship between FASD prevention and the social determinants of health, see earlier posts such as: