Policy goals and recommendations of the Commission of Social Determinants of Health (CSDH)

The evidence synthesized by the CSDH focused on pathways from social factors to unequal health outcomes. It highlights three main policy goals for addressing social determinants of health and reducing health inequities. These are:

  • Reduce differential opportunity to be healthy through universal policies
  • Reduce differential risk of exposed to specific pathogenic factors
  • Mitigate differential consequences of ill health.

The Commission's final report launched in August 2008 contained three overarching recommendations:

  • Improve the conditions of daily life – the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age.
  • Tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources – the structural drivers of those conditions of daily life – globally, nationally, and locally.
  • Measure the problem, evaluate action, expand the knowledge base, develop a workforce that is trained in the social determinants of health, and raise public awareness about the social determinants of health.

Given the need to act on inequities in the current generation and to act earlier to break inter generational inequities in health, there is growing recognition of the need to move from projects to systematic action – to ensure action of the scale and size necessary to have an impact and sustain this over time.