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Rural Health Information Hub

Improving Education to Address Social Determinants of Health

Educational programs in rural areas offer a unique opportunity to reduce health disparities, improve quality of life, and address social determinants of health (SDOH). Education has been described as the most important modifiable social determinant of health, and has shown to increase healthy behaviors and improve health outcomes across the lifespan.

Adults with higher educational attainment have greater economic resources to support healthy behaviors and those who have attended college report better access to healthcare than those without a college degree. Similarly, early childhood education programs can have profound long-term and far-reaching impacts on health and well-being over a lifespan.

This toolkit describes 5 evidence-based models and promising approaches for improving educational attainment, language development, and literacy to address SDOH: