Getting serious about the social determinants of health: new directions for public health workers

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International interest in the social determinants of health and their public policy antecedents is increasing. Despite evidence that as compared to other wealthy nations Canada presents a mediocre population health profile and public policy environments increasingly less supportive of health, the Canadian public health gaze is firmly — and narrowly — focused on lifestyle issues of diet, physical activity and tobacco use. Much of this has to do with Canada being identified as being driven by a liberal political economy, a situation shared with a cluster of other developed nations. Reasons for Canada's neglect of structural and public policy issues are explored and ways by which public health workers in Canada and elsewhere can help to shift policymakers and the general public's understandings of the determinants of health are outlined.   Read the complete article written by Dennis Raphael.