The Importance of Wellness in Defining Health
The primary function of health is to prevent sickness and disease. The word was used firstly in the Geneva Declaration of the World Health Organization. According to this declaration, health is “the condition of being capable of maintaining proper bodily functions and self-determination of organs required for their normal functioning.” A number of other definitions have since been applied to health, with each using the word in slightly different contexts.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not necessarily the absence of sickness and disease. The primary duty of a public health agency is to promote health by disseminating information on prevention, diagnosis and treatments of health-related problems. The WHO also recognizes six international criteria on which to base its definitions of health: the practice of precautionary measures; active involvement of the public in health research and knowledge development; availability and accessibility of reliable information and education on health and healthcare; regular medical monitoring and screening for indicators of health risk and improvement in preventive measures and general medical management; adequate and effective treatment and cure; development of community control and prevention and promotion of social strategies aimed at health. All these points are included in the pre-condition for the definition of health as it relates to the general public.
According to WHO, health refers to the ability of an individual to carry out his functions normally with no limitation due to disability, injury or poor health. Disability, accident, illness and age are considered as causes of weakness or impairment of the physical well-being of a person. Developed countries have high levels of health-related risks and low life expectancy. Life expectancy at birth is around nine months for men and around five months for women in developed countries.
In order to achieve optimum health, it is important that we examine our environments and the natural environments that we live in. It has been found that physical fitness, stress management, environmental exposures, water quality, exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, diet and lifestyle have strong effect on our health. The combination of these factors including healthy eating habits and a balanced diet, regular exercise, relaxation, social interaction and reducing environmental factors that may harm us can help us to achieve optimal health. A person who lives in a polluted environment or where there is no proper ventilation can also suffer from ailments such as respiratory illness, lung cancer, asthma and other diseases.
Mental health defines health from a psychological perspective. It can be measured using various methods such as interviews and questionnaires. It also includes the components of bodily health like physical wellness, functional capacity, independence, satisfaction with life and functioning, satisfaction with physical care and ability to meet social needs.
These values form the bedrock of the concept of defining health. According to the WHO, “In all parts of the world, good health depends on the ability to adapt to and satisfy the needs of the physical, mental, emotional and social needs of the individual.” A healthy mind, body and spirit can help us to lead a happy, fulfilling and productive life.