Social Determinants of Health: The Obesity Epidemic

This exercise provides a useful framework to discuss how health outcomes are a product of social determinants.


  1. Draw a bare tree with roots, a trunk, and branches.
  2. Think about the disease If you are not aware of the disease obesity do a bit of research on this disease. Write obesity and its definition on the trunk of the tree
  3. List behaviors that contribute to people getting this disease. List these behaviors on the branches of tree.
  4. Next research what happens to people who are obese. What other diseases to obese people get.  These are called outcomes of the disease. They should be placed as leaves on the tree
  5. Finally, list social, economic, and political determinants that influence why people become obese. List these determinants at the roots of the tree. These determinants represent the “root causes of disease.”
  6. Watch
  7. Note how is contributory factors, root causes and outcomes compares to your “tree”
  8. Finally, describe how interventions at (1) social or public policy level (2) community level (3) health care system level and (4) individual level might be used to combat the epidemic of obesity. You may use some of Mr. Oliver’s suggestions as part of your discussion.

Submit your tree and intervention discussion to your instructor on _______________________