Health is not just about healthcare. In fact, social factors are greater predictors of health and well-being than clinical health. According to research reported in a 2016 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine, medical care accounts for only 10 to 20 percent of the contributors to health outcomes. The other 80 to 90 percent are social determinants of health, including health-related behaviors, socioeconomic factors and environmental factors.
The Cardinal Health Foundation recently issued three invitation-only requests for proposals to nonprofit organizations that address food insecurity and/or housing instability – complex social issues that greatly influence population health. By supporting organizations that help to increase access to healthy foods and prevent homelessness, we can not only improve health outcomes, but also the overall health of the communities in which we work and live.
Housing is so important to health that those without a home die decades younger than those with a home. While the average life expectancy in the U.S. is almost 80 years old, chronically homeless individuals can expect to live only to their 60s. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Annual Point-in-Time Count tells us that, on average, 500,000 people each night experience homelessness in this country.
Evidence also supports an association between hunger and poor health outcomes. According to the USDA, there is a strong connection between hunger and chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. And the more meals individuals miss, the more hunger affects the mind and body. In 2017, 40 million Americans experienced food insecurity.
We anticipate announcing successful applicants early in 2020.