What exactly is the Social Ecological Model? According to the Centers for Disease Control, “the Social Ecological Model or SEM is a theory based- framework for understanding the complex and interactive effects of the individual and environmental factors that determine different behaviors” (Centers for Disease Control 2015). The model is an approach to prevent diseases and illness within communities. The factors within this model can influence a person’s diet, physical activity, along with their overall health and wellbeing.

The ecological model is a tool that can be used to boost self-reflection and critical thinking which can lead to positive health actions. The model goes beyond the point of lifestyle and behavior, it accepts that social change can provide prerequisites for better health outcomes. There are several parts to the Social Ecological Model, which will be discussed throughout the chapter, which will be broken down for further understanding.