Outcomes map: Physical health

In this document, we break down the outcomes and indicators which can be used by social investors, charities, funders and social enterprises to measure the success of an intervention to improve physical health.

In 1946, the World Health Organisation defined health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. This overview, however, explores the identification and measurement of outcomes relating to physical health only – others have been produced which explore mental health and personal and social well-being.

For the purpose of this overview, we define physical health as ‘anything that relates to our bodies as physical entities’ with good physical health being good ‘body health’ where ‘all internal and external body parts, organs, tissues and cells function as they are supposed to’. Whilst another overview explores factors that may have a bearing on physical health (see substance use and addiction), here we focus on outcomes relating to disease and premature death; physical ability and fitness; and access to healthcare.


This is one of 13 outcomes maps produced by the SROI Network in partnership with NPC, Investing for Good and Big Society Capital. Each map examines a particular issue area or domain, and aims to document the relevant outcomes and indicators that are currently being measured by charities, government, academics and practitioners working in this field.

Click here to see all the titles in the series.