The effect of social isolation on mortality is comparable to the impact of well known factors such as obesity, and has a similar impact to cigarette smoking.

People’s Health Trust has created a series of infographics exploring what makes us healthy. The infographics look at the importance of the building blocks of health (social determinants of health) as factors in our lives which impact our health outcomes and life expectancy.

The aim of the infographics is to help community organisations further understand the social determinants of health, how their work fits into them, and how their work is helping to reduce health inequalities.

The social determinants of health are the socioeconomic circumstances that affect our life expectancy and the quality of our health. These include social connections; community power; local environment; jobs and income; local economies; housing and education and skills.

Our partners funded through our Active Communities and Local Conversations funding programmes are working to tackle these factors which impact people’s health. The community organisations we fund work in neighbourhoods experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage or with marginalised groups. These communities often face multiple social and economic inequalities which impact their healthy life expectancy.

Health inequalities in England and Wales mean that people living in neighbourhoods experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage will, on average, die eight years younger, and will spend 18.5 years more of their shortened lives in ill health.

In Scotland, men and women living in neighbourhoods experiencing the highest levels of disadvantage in Scotland spend, on average, nearly 23 fewer years in good health than those in the most affluent areas.

Prioritising the social determinants of health in work tackling health inequalities is essential to improve people’s quality of life and life expectancy. Our projects have demonstrated how communities can create change by focusing their work on these determinants of health.

For example, our Active Communities funded partner the Association of Community Organisation for Reform Now (ACORN) supports renters to deal with issues ranging from illegal evictions, compensation claims, poor living conditions and contract disputes. And, Lee Gardens Pool have brought a whole community together to re-open a local pool, providing training, jobs, a place for people to form connections and, boost their local economy.

Our new downloadable resources explain why these factors which impact our health are important. Community organisations and individuals can download them here and use them to inform their work creating local and national change.

If you have any feedback and questions, please contact the Communications team on