Individual health is defined as a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing. It is determined by fundamental biological elements, as well as by income, the social, natural and built environments, and working conditions. It is also determined by the state of the healthcare system itself. Added to these factors are the climate upheavals that the population is already experiencing, and which are set to increase in frequency and intensity. These changes can have an impact on people’s health, both physical and mental. They can interfere with the various health determinants.
According to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec [Quebec national public health institute], health determinants consists of all the factors that influence a population’s health without necessarily being direct causes of specific problems or illnesses. Health determinants are associated with individual and collective behaviours, living conditions and environments. There are disparities in the distribution of these determinants between different levels of society, resulting in health inequalities. This social gradient in health is linked to the unequal distribution of power, resources, goods and services. It is therefore important to take this issue into account when taking action on health determinants.