Socioeconomic determinants of health and access to health care in rural Canada

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Sophiya Garasia
Graham Dobbs



Determinants of health are a complex set of interactions among a range of socioeconomic, environmental, behavioral, and biological factors. They are recognized globally as predictors of both individual and population health. Factors associated with poor health in rural Canada include, but are not limited to: poverty, low level of education, unsafe housing, poor quality of water, food insecurity, and isolation. The most thorough investigation on rural health status and health determinants was conducted in 2006 by the initiative, “Canada’s Rural Communities: Understanding Rural Health and Its Determinants.”4 In this commentary, we discuss the hypothesized relationships between various determinants of health and the health status of rural populations, and present a framework that highlights these relationships.