The determinants of well-being are the factors that influence our level of health. They are several, and we can group them under four main influencing areas: personal characteristics, personal behaviour, socio-economic environment and physical environment.
Why is important to differentiate among the determinants of well-being?
Being able to differentiate among the determinants of well-being gives you the chance to intervene on them and therefore improve your health.
It must remain clear to all, however, that our level of health does not depend only on the capacity to intervene on the correct determinant of well-being. In essence, it also depends on the solution that you decide to adopt to improve the state of that specific determinant of well-being.
Translated into an example, think on the daily situation in which you have the need of eating something. You can, for instance, intervene on your behaviours (by eating a salad vs a bag of chips) but also intervene on the physical environment (by eating it outdoors at the park vs at home, within a dark and smoky room). In any of the four possible outcomes, your need will be satisfied. However, the way on which you satisfy your need, has different impacts on your health.
How I know on which determinant of well-being should I intervene?
The answer is "it depends". Depending on the need that you want to satisfy, you will intervene on a specific or, like in most cases, a sequence of determinants of well-being.
To some people, knowing where and how to intervene might seem obvious. But the reality is that most of us satisfy his or her needs without understanding the impacts that those have on our health and the environment or without knowing that technology can support them.
The four main influencing areas.
Unlike commonly considered, the access to healthcare or individual treat does not have the kind of impact that other factors such as where we live have on our health1. Factors such as age, place where we live, education or income are all elements that influence our health level and on which, in as much as possible, we can intervene.
The main influencing areas that collect several influencing factors are:
1. Personal behaviour: following a balanced diet, doing physical activity regularly, drinking, smoking, or the way we react to life challenges are all elements that have an impact on our health.
2. Physical environment: the air quality, the noise, the temperature are some of the factors that influence our well-being while at home or work. Other factors such as the quality of our living area (neighbourhood, town and city) and the quality of the services have an impact on our health level.
3. Individual characteristics: our age, sex and other hereditary factors influence our lifespan and the possibility to develop other illnesses during our life.
4. Socio-economic environment: the education level, the income and social status, the support that we receive from our families and community as well as their traditions and beliefs are all variables that have an impact on our health.
Enhancing family and neighbourhood relationships and implementing Meaningful Smart Homes can have a high impact on our health while limiting the effort and resources required.
How Smart Home Need supports you?
Smart Home Need supports you at the time of identifying the factors that influence the satisfaction of your home needs and, at the same time, finding specific solutions.
As you will have noticed from the previous section, the socio-economic environment is an influencing area that goes beyond our living spaces or homes. For this reason, and to stay faithful to our commitment of promoting Meaningful Smart Homes, our Needs Guide focuses on the remaining influencing areas: personal characteristics, personal behaviour and physical environment.
1 World Health Organization, Health Impact Assessment (HIA). Accessed April 2019. <https://www.who.int/hia/evidence/doh/en/>.