Things that impact your health
In thinking about health, you might consider yourself healthy because you aren't sick. You may go to the doctor for a checkup every year, eat well and exercise regularly. But what about the thoughts in your head or your family health history? And taking it a step further, where you live, your job and the relationships in your life? All these things, and more, also influence the health of the whole you.
As much as 80% of a person’s health is determined outside a medical office or hospital. Studies suggest our medical care determines only 20% of our health.1
Health is more than your medical care
Thoughts, feelings, actions
Mental health and behaviors
Your state of mind and behaviors affect your health. Mental health helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Lifestyle choices also affect your feelings and well-being.
Our risks depend on our choices of whether to smoke, exercise, eat well, drink alcohol, take medication as prescribed and more.
What can you do?
Make a healthy change
- Join a wellness program or support group.
- Set an attainable goal.
- Break down a big goal into smaller ones.
- Focus on one goal at a time.
- Make a plan.
- Ask for help.
- Track your progress.
- Reward yourself.
If you have done any of these things, celebrate and keep going!
Take care of you and your loved ones' mental health.
How is the health care system changing to better support you?
Where we live determines our access to care facilities, food options and exposure to pollution.
Research shows ZIP codes are a top indicator of how long someone might live.
How healthy is your community?
Compare your community and state to others in the U.S.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Is the health care system involved in supporting communities?
Family health history
Medical conditions can run in families. Parents can pass certain genes, the parts of your DNA that determine your height or hair and eye color, to their children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you share your family health history with your doctor even if it's incomplete. Health care providers can use it to help inform decisions on screening tests.
What you need to know
Diseases and conditions with a genetic component
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sickle cell disease
- Breast cancer and other cancers
- Alzheimer's disease
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
What is the health care system doing for you?
Social and financial
Socioeconomic refers to areas of our life including but not limited to housing, income, education, access to food, transportation, childcare and safety.
Why does it matter?
The ability to manage your health hangs on everyday challenges. Your medical care team wants to know if you're struggling to get a ride to a clinic, insurance to cover medication costs, an internet connection to receive email, or family or community support.
Internet and other digital technology also play a role in our health.
As the world around us embraces and relies more on the internet, wi-fi, smart phones and computers, our access to this digital technology may play a bigger role in what makes us healthy.
How is health care changing to address these circumstances?
Until it's Fixed, a podcast from Optum, breaks down changes in health care focused on making it more about you.
Support from doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals
What happens in a hospital or doctor's office matters. Diagnosing an illness, surgical procedures and medications all impact our health.
Quality care that meets our expectations starts with a primary care provider — the family practice and internal medicine doctors, nurse practitioners and physician's assistants you might see for a yearly wellness visit, an ongoing illness or urgent medical need. And it's important to find medical practitioners who understand you.
Need help understanding your care?
Health care has its own language. We define the ability to understand terminology and how to navigate all parts of your medical care as health literacy. Search for terms and find clear definitions of words that matter to you through the Just Plain Clear® glossary.OR
Connecting everything that makes you healthy
Health for the whole you hasn't always been a main focus.
But that is changing. Companies involved in your health care started working on it before the pandemic, but you may be hearing a lot more about it now. They’re taking steps to consider not only your medical matters but also what makes you unique.
The approach is called whole person care.
Whole-person care takes into account a patient’s mental, behavioral, spiritual and physical health while recognizing that each of us is an individual, with our own goals and our own preferences for seeking care at different places in our health care journey. When we address all of these factors, that’s when we can deliver on the promise of whole-person care.– Dr. Wyatt Decker, CEO, OptumHealth
Caring for the whole person goes beyond treating illness, injury and disease. It’s about getting you the care and support you need, where and when you need it.
It's also about giving you clear information, so you can take charge of your health and choose healthy behaviors that may prevent illness.
But if you are one of the more than half of U.S. adults with at least one chronic disease2, an illness that lasts a long time or needs to be managed throughout life, care that considers the whole you may help reduce the day to day burden of a chronic disease.
You, your medical care, along with public health and social support systems, all play a role in your health. Optum is committed to supporting your personal health journey and wants to make each encounter with the health care system an opportunity to live your healthiest life.
Take part in activities aimed at better health
Rally around mental health
Mental health conditions have no boundaries. They generally affect 1 in 5 American adults each year, and as many as 1 in 6 children and teens.
Better understand the language of health and medical care
The Optum "Until It's Fixed" podcast discusses delivering care in plain, clear, easy-to-understand terms to improve health literacy.
Driving toward equitable care — for all
Creating a world where every person has equal access to affordable, quality health care — when and where they want it — is the goal. We are partnering to expand access and close gaps in care, one individual and community at a time.
Connect to health care and support for you and your family
Find a doctor or clinic close to your home.
Browse health products, refill prescriptions and get virtual care, all in one place.
Move toward a healthier financial future with health savings and spending accounts, payment solutions and educational resources.
Live and Work Well
Get emotional support resources and access to care.
1. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Medicaid’s role in addressing social determinants of health. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Updated Feb. 2019. Accessed Oct. 1, 2021.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. September 2020.