Housing: an overlooked social determinant of health

13 May 2024

In May, The Lancet ran an article highlighting the inextricable link between housing and health. The article emphasised that adequate housing is a human right. Adequate means that homes need good ventilation, moisture control, heating and cooling, and insulation to mitigate dampness, mould, indoor air pollution, and extreme temperature exposure. Adequate and healthy homes reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental health disorders.

The article highlights the need for health care professionals to screen for both housing instability and poor housing conditions as a determinant of health.

The article challenges all of us to demand more and healthier housing.

“As a human right, housing demands greater prioritisation. Advocacy, including from the medical and public health sectors, must drive systemic change. With urban populations set to more than double by 2050, coupled with rising housing costs, worsening climate change, ongoing conflicts, and natural disasters, the need for adequate housing will keep growing, widening health inequities. Making housing a priority public health intervention not only presents a pivotal opportunity, but a moral imperative. The health of our communities depends on it.”

Read the full article here:

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00914-0