What is Health? According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of sickness and infirmity.” Various definitions have been applied to health throughout the years. Some of the more common ones are as follows:
“Well-Being” is the ability to enjoy life to its fullest and contribute to the society in which one lives. It is associated with physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. In the United States, the definition of well-being has taken on a somewhat different meaning than it did during much of the history of the country’s health care system. Today, health care in the US generally covers only a few pre-existing medical conditions, such as obesity and smoking, and the prescription drug coverage requirements. For many people, health care has become simply attending a clinic or seeing a physician when they have a health condition.
Health As a Social Proposition The institution of health as a public concern is an invention of the US civil rights movement. For some people, being healthy has always been linked to their social status and the health care received. Other people focus on the risks to their health and the costs of treating those conditions, without giving much thought to why they need to have it. Often, if given the choice, people would prefer to live healthy and avoid costly treatments, if they knew they could do so without losing anything in the process. This “cost-effectiveness” attitude is at the heart of most current efforts to improve the health of the general population. On the other hand, social determinants of health were important in earlier societies, when people had little control over their health and didn’t have the resources to pay for expensive treatments.
Health As A State Of Complete Physical, Mental And Emotional Well-Being Health is typically defined as a state of total well-being. It may also be taken to mean a state of harmony and optimism or even as having favorable qualities (including warmth, friendliness, dependability, and competence). Health is normally seen as a complement to a person’s personality, whereby one enhances the other. While this is true in most cases, there are exceptions, especially where disease or disability affects both individuals and society as a whole. It should be noted that health cannot be reduced to a sum of its parts and is instead always a complex combination of physical, mental, and emotional aspects.
Health As A State Of Completely Integral Part Of A Person’s Overall Well-Being The concept of health is often used in association with another term, well-being. For some people, well-being refers to the absence of psychological illness. For others, it refers to having high levels of physical health. Although well-being is seen as the sum of all positive aspects of a person’s life, health can also contribute to well-being in the sense that good health allows people to fully participate in the world around them. It has been noted that health enables people to properly interact with others, to enjoy the little pleasures in life, and to feel secure about the future. In the end, health is seen to be the basis for every basic human right, such as freedom, respect, security, and well-being.
The definition of health has been repeatedly changed over the years with new ideas coming into play as studies of the mind, body, and spirit gain more scientific credibility. According to recent studies, while overall health can be seen to promote resilience against both chronic and serious diseases, those who are at greater risk for these diseases tend to live in unhealthy environments. For this reason, it is important that we determine what it means to have a good physical well-being, as well as a happy and psychologically fulfilling life.