top of page

What does "healthy" mean?

You're so healthy! She's so healthy! I wish I was healthier. We hear the term "healthy" all the time. Being "healthy" is subjective, to say the least. In our society, and especially within the health and wellness industry, "healthy" is often a lean person who does a lot of exercise and eats "clean". We see a thin, muscular, fit woman jogging down the street and most of us would automatically think "she's so healthy". We have a guest over for dinner who skips the bread, piles on the veggies, and sips water, and we think "Wow! They're so healthy!". But we really don't know anything about a person's health by judging their physical appearance or what's on (or absent from) their dinner plate. In fact, a person's health behaviours- like their food choices, exercise habits, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc - only accounts for around 30% of the person's overall health. Factors such as socioeconomic status are much greater predictors of health. Even if we only focused on the health behaviours, it's problematic to assume a person is or isn't healthy based on their looks or food choices. Assuming a person is healthy because they're thin and they load up on the veggies or skip the bread is a product of diet culture.   


Social Determinants of Health 

The social determinants of health are the non-medical factors that influence a person's health. Factors such as where a person is born, their living conditions, their physical environment, and their education and income level, all shape the conditions of a person's daily life. Income is one of the greatest predictors of health. The lower the socio-economic status, the poorer the health. 

Health determinants

A person's health status is determined by several factors including their socioeconomic status, their physical environment, access to health care, and health behaviours. In our society, particularly in the health and wellness industry

bottom of page