HEALTH EQUITY: What is Health Equity?

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Health equity means that everyone has a fair chance to be as healthy as they can be. It means breaking down barriers that “place” and “personal” factors like safety, housing, income, race and sex can create. Health equity means that everyone, at any time and in any place, can work for better health for all. The health of each of us affects the health of all of us. It’s easier for healthy people to learn, to work, to raise a family and to give back. The more of us who are healthy, the less of a price we all pay.

Why do some of us live sicker and die younger than we should? Natural causes like lifestyle choices, “bad” genes or inadequate care are not always to blame. These days social conditions, like where we live, the money we have, the discrimination we face, and the work we do is what makes us healthy or sick. That is not natural. Health differences that arise from racial and class differences come from choices society has made, and can change differently in the future.

Health equity means creating that fair and equal chance. It takes more than personal choices. It takes communities where streets and housing are safe, where transportation is good, where there is plenty of fresh food and parks to make sure that everyone has their chance to thrive. Most Delawareans agree that everyone deserves a fair and equal chance for health. We’re getting closer, but we still have some gaps to close. To find out more about health equity visit our DE Health Equity Action Center.