Blocks with health care symbolsThe known social determinants all flow into each other: pooreducation, lower wages, manual labor, low or no access to qualityhealth care, little to no knowledge and time available forpreventative care measures. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The COVID-19 outbreak has not affected all Americans equally. Aperson's risk of contracting the virus, as well as the severity andlikelihood of recovering, are a matter of geographic location, age,ethnicity and underlying health conditions, among other factors."Essential workers," for example, often correlates to low-wageworkers who can't afford to take time off of work to reduce therisk of exposure.

These factors are examples of social determinants of health. Inrecent years, health care providers and industry experts have beenpushing to include these lifestyle factors into health careplanning. Employers, as well, have been urged to incorporate suchconsiderations into their health and wellness programs.

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Emily Payne

Emily Payne is director, content analytics for ALM's Business & Finance Markets and former managing editor for BenefitsPRO. A Wisconsin native, she has spent the past decade writing and editing for various athletic and fitness publications. She holds an English degree and Business certificate from the University of Wisconsin.