Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For clarity, determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community and Environment, Public and Health Policies, and Clinical Care. These four groups of measures influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these inputs will improve outcomes over time. Most measures are actually a combination of activities in all four groups. For example, the prevalence of smoking is a behavior that is strongly influenced by the community and environment in which we live, by public policy including taxation and restrictions on smoking in public places, and by the care received to treat the chemical and behavioral addictions associated with tobacco. However, for simplicity, we placed each measure in a single category.
The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.
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