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Social determinants of health across the life-span

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Publication Date: 
1 Apr 2004

Excerpts In late 2002, 400 social and health policy experts, community representatives, and health researchers met at York University at a conference entitled "Social determinants of health across the life-span". The purpose of the conference was to consider the state of key social determinants of health (SDOH) across Canada, explore the implications for the health of Canadians, and discuss policy directions to strengthen these social determinants of health. Summaries of a series of research papers and presentations on the nine SDOH below were produced by Health Canada, including an overview paper that ties all of the issues together under a population health approach. - income inequality - social inclusion and exclusion - employment and job security - working conditions - contribution of the social economy - early childhood education and care - food security - housing - education EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE AS A DETERMINANT OF HEALTH Canada fares poorly on three commonly used indicators for ECEC: accessibility, quality and financing. Canada has not even begun to develop a universal system of ECEC. This has negative implications in the short- and long-term for the children who miss early childhood education, the mothers who miss employment and training opportunities, and the communities that miss what could be a vital community institution in its own right. Well-designed ECEC policies can contribute to accomplishing four goals: - enhancing children's well-being, healthy development and prospects for life-long learning - supporting parents in education, training and employment; and in their parenting role - fostering social solidarity and social cohesion - enhancing equity.