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By The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Final Report of Senate Subcommittee on Population Health
The Honourable Wilbert Joseph Keon, Chair The Honourable Lucie Pépin, Deputy Chair
June 2009

HEALTH IS LARGELY DETERMINED BY FACTORS OUTSIDE THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: [L]ack of health care is not the cause of the huge global burden of illness; water-borne diseases are not caused by lack of antibiotics but by dirty water, and by the political, social and economic forces that fail to make clean water available to all; heart disease is not caused by a lack of coronary care units but by the lives people lead, which are shaped by the environments in which they live; obesity is not caused by moral failure on the part of individuals but by the excess availability of high-fat and high-sugar foods. The main action on social determinants of health must therefore come from outside the health sector. [from the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health, Closing the Gap in a Generation – Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health, 2008, p. 35.]

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