US opinions on health determinants and social policy as health policy

Am J Public Health. 2011 Sep;101(9):1655-63. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300217. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


To examine what factors the public thinks are important determinants of health and whether social policy is viewed as health policy, we conducted a national telephone survey of 2791 US adults from November 2008 through February 2009. Respondents said that health behaviors and access to health care have very strong effects on health; they were less likely to report a very strong role for other social and economic factors. Respondents who recognized a stronger role for social determinants of health and who saw social policy as health policy were more likely to be older, women, non-White, and liberal, and to have less education, lower income, and fair/poor health. Increasing public knowledge about social determinants of health and mobilizing less advantaged groups may be useful in addressing broad determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Opinion*
  • Public Policy*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States