Social Determinants of Health (SDH) such as nutritional condition, environment, work environment, poverty, literacy level, social class, housing, water, gender, unemployment, stress, income, social support, education are the most important factors. They are social determinants of health that are much more likely to cause disease than biological factors and play a key role in human health that, if ignored, make it impossible to achieve health goals and establish justice in health. These factors cause more than 50% of diseases, illnesses and deaths in the world. Based on the available evidence, most of the health injustices are the result of the asymmetric effects of these social factors on people's health. A world in which there are deep inequalities in health is not a humane and desirable world that societies seek.
The evidence points to the tremendous impact of social determinants on disease. So, to achieve a fairer and more humane society and reduce the gap in health inequalities, the impact of social components of health should be considered as a key step. Studying each of these factors and understanding the structural relationships between them is one of the emphasized and new goals of the World Health Organization.
Over the past decade, scientific information on the social determinants of health has advanced dramatically, and today the political conditions for action are greater than ever. This opportunity is far more important than being missed. Achieving these goals requires a management that knows the relevant knowledge, the necessary moral attitude and political awareness. That is why the Commission for Social Factors Determining Health has been established in the World Health Organization. Scientific understanding of the social determinants of health has made rapid progress in recent decades, and in many countries this scientific evidence has been used to develop new public policy strategies.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, as one of the leading countries which combats the destructive effects of these social factors affecting health has established Secretariat of Social Factors Affecting Health in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, since 2006, at the same time with the start of the Commission of Social Factors Affecting Health in the World Health Organization.