The factors that can affect our health are categorized into 5 major “determinants”, meaning that they affect the nature of outcomes. The CDC describes them as “Health is influenced by many factors, which may generally be organized into five broad categories known as determinants of health: genetics, behavior, environmental and physical influences, medical care and social factors. These five categories are interconnected.”

Historically, we have paid primary attention to the medical determinant/factors that influence health, but modern science is showing us that determinants do not act in silos, but rather are interconnected and work in unison to affect our health. As an example, it is as important to understand medical codes in a patient’s health record as it is to also understand the factors at play from their genetic code and their zip code — all of which play significant roles in our health.