Addressing the Social Determinants of Health of Children and Youth: A Role for SOPHE Members
Allensworth, D. D.
Allensworth, D. D. (2011) Addressing the Social Determinants of Health of Children and Youth: A Role for SOPHE Members. Health Education & Behavior, 38 (4). pp. 331-338.
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The determinants of youth health disparities include poverty, unequal access to health care, poor environmental conditions, and educational inequities. Poor and minority children have more health problems and less access to health care than their higher socioeconomic status cohorts. Having more health problems leads to more absenteeism in school, which, in turn, can affect achievement. The educational level that one attains is a significant determinant of one's earning potential and health. Those who learn more earn more money and have a better health status. Those who do not attain a high school diploma on average live 6 to 9 years less than those who do graduate from high school. Furthermore, their children also experience poorer health and the cycle is repeated. Achieving a high school diploma and a college degree is an acknowledged route out of poverty. However, that route is blocked for many poor and minority students. SOPHE is in a prime position to be the organization linking the health care, public health and education sectors in addressing the reduction of both health disparities and educational inequities. This article describes what SOPHE members can do both individually and collectively to reduce the health and educational inequities facing our most vulnerable children.
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