Broadband internet access is a social determinant of health!

Am J Public Health

Now, more than ever, broadband Internet access (BIA) must be recognized as a social determinant of health. Disparities in access should be treated as a public health issue because they affect “the health of people and communities where they live, learn, work and play.”

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that lack of BIA influences each of the six social determinant of health domains defined by the American Medical Association.2 It also affects an additional domain, which is particularly pertinent during a pandemic—access to credible information. Reduced BIA, particularly during this pandemic, has the potential to exacerbate this country’s existing health disparities because it disproportionately affects those who are already vulnerable. Indeed, those who are older, are racial/ethnic minorities, have lower incomes, are less educated, or live in rural areas may experience worse health outcomes under normal circumstances and are even less able to access health-enhancing resources during social-distancing orders.

Benda NC, Veinot TC, Sieck CJ, Ancker JS. Broadband internet access is a social determinant of health! Am J Public Health. 2020;110(8):1123-1125. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2020.305784

Publication Year: 
2020
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Outcomes: 
Social Needs/ SDH
Screening Research: 
No