Health equity exists when individuals have equal opportunities to be healthy. The ability to be healthy is often associated with factors such as social position, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual identity, or disability. When these factors limit a person’s ability to be healthy it can lead to health inequity.
Health inequities are caused by the uneven distribution of social determinants of health. Social determinants include education, housing, and the neighborhood environment (e.g., sidewalks, parks), access to transportation, employment opportunities, the law and the justice systems, and health care and public health systems. Social determinants of health affect a person’s ability to earn a good living, live and work in a safe and healthy environment, and effectively use available resources including health care resources. Sometimes populations that represent a specific demographic feature (e.g., a particular racial or ethnic group) do not have equal access to quality education, housing, and other resources which can lead to greater sickness, and increased injuries and deaths.
Current Community Guide reviews are focused on interventions to reduce health inequities among racial and ethnic minorities and low-income populations.