Explore Vital Conditions

What are the 7 Vital Conditions?

The Seven Vital Conditions for Well-Being is a useful framework for conceptualizing holistic well-being and the Conditions that give rise to it, as well as identifying levers for community change and improvement. It brings together major determinants of health, exposing how parts of a multi-faceted whole work as a system to produce population well-being. This framework helps users consider the properties of places and institutions that all people need all the time to be healthy and well. This framework advances a collaborative, cross-sector approach to improving community health and well-being and helps identify where and how to invest in communities to yield better results over time.

Thriving Natural World

A thriving natural world provides clean air, water, land, and functional ecosystems, supporting a healthy environment free from hazards and resilient to change. However, sectors like food, energy, transportation, and healthcare are impacted by the environment, and environmental degradation disproportionately affects marginalized communities. Climate change further poses risks, and while progress has been made, challenges remain in improving air quality, reducing pollution, and managing hazardous substances.

Basic Needs for Health & Safety

Access to fresh air, water, nutritious food, stable housing, and healthy relationships are crucial for physical and mental well-being. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly compromised meeting these basic needs, with widespread layoffs, difficulty in paying rent and buying groceries, increased domestic violence, mental health issues, and limited access to healthcare. The United States requires new ideas and improved public policies to recover and thrive in the future, ensuring that basic needs for health and safety are met for all.

Humane Housing

Humane housing entails secure and safe living spaces within diverse and vibrant communities, enabling individuals to lead fulfilling and productive lives. Housing affordability is a critical factor in financial well-being, and stability, quality, safety, and affordability of housing significantly impact health outcomes. Access to humane housing is closely intertwined with various aspects of life, particularly for children, and it plays a crucial role in determining individuals’ ability to thrive and flourish.

Meaningful Work and Wealth

Personal, family, and community wealth are crucial for healthy and secure lives, encompassing fulfilling jobs, financial security, and the ability to accumulate wealth across generations. The ongoing coronavirus crisis has significantly impacted the economy, work, and wealth, particularly affecting families and communities, especially those in marginalized groups. However, there is hope that reevaluating work and income equality, along with addressing systemic racism, can lead to new approaches and progress in achieving economic equity and financial stability.

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning ensures equal access to quality education, enabling individuals to reach their full potential and pursue meaningful careers. Education is a catalyst for social mobility, positively impacting health, well-being, and opportunities. However, disparities in educational access and attainment persist, perpetuating inequality across generations.

Reliable Transportation

Active transportation, such as walking, biking, and using public transit, promotes physical activity, reduces pollution, and improves community health. Investing in infrastructure and prioritizing equity can increase access to active transportation, benefiting overall well-being and creating economic opportunities.

Belonging and Civic Muscle

Belonging and civic muscle are vital conditions for community health and well-being. Social support, connections, and a sense of efficacy contribute to practical and emotional needs, mental well-being, and healthy behaviors. Social cohesion at the community level fosters trust, cooperation, and collective attachment, enabling collaborative efforts and the co-creation of a shared future, ultimately strengthening community vibrancy and driving positive change.

Vital Conditions


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