A Short Define of Health
It seems that people focus on so many different aspects of health. There are dietitians, exercise planners, medical professionals and psychologists that all swear by so-called health. There is even a term coined by the WHO: “quality of life”. What is quality of life? It is actually very difficult to define, because it is relative, situational, and unique to each individual.
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition characterized by the absence of physical disability and disease in the person’s life course. A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years for various purposes. The Conference on Mental and Social Services defines it as a condition in which people have their capacity to enjoy life balanced with their capacities to cope with life challenges. In a similar vein, the IRC definition is used as a reference point for conceptualizing and planning strategies for improving health.
On another level, good health is the ability to endure and perform well in work and life. It is about feeling good about life. By itself, health cannot prevent or control disease; nor can it prevent and treat disease. It is a fact that health and disease often occur together. However, healthy people live longer than those who suffer from ill health, and people with good health have more resources and an opportunity to contribute to public health, leaving behind a more productive and happy future for their family, society and environment.
The challenge for public health educators and practitioners is to create environments that promote healthy lifestyles. The most effective way of promoting good health is through a combination of interventions (i.e. disease prevention and treatment), support for population management, and education about disease prevention, earlier detection and treatment, and ways to cope with stress, emotional and environmental stressors. All these contribute to a healthier population; and healthier population translates into less costly medical care, less death and illness due to disease, and a better quality of life for all.
According to The National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Business, mental health and physical health are interrelated but not entirely dependent upon one another: “good health relies on good nutritional habits, good mental health on good emotional well-being, and a balanced lifestyle that includes regular exercise, healthy diet, and a reasonable number of hours of sleep.” The interdependence of the three components of good health becomes more evident when one considers that the two components are interdependent: poor health can be caused by a lack of physical activity and poor nutrition, while well-being may be impaired by unhealthy behavior (e.g., alcohol abuse, tobacco use) and a lack of exercise. Similarly, poor mental health can be improved by addressing the issues that produce feelings of sadness and hopelessness, while improving a person’s sense of self-esteem can improve his or her physical health. Therefore, the interdependence of the three components of good health is not only true of physical health and disability, but also mental health and mental illness. The good health depend upon one another.
What kind of definition of health is used by professionals? International consensus on the definition of healthy varies, with some countries affirming the importance of defining health in terms of ability to participate constructively in society, while others focusing on prevention, diagnosing, and treating. United States federal agencies and state health departments work towards accords that reflect a common understanding of the definition of healthy. The three components of a definition of health include: a general condition that leads to a reduction in the chance of death; a capacity to contribute to the community through activities that are deemed vital to the individual’s continued ability to physically survive; and the ability to enjoy a good quality of life despite a condition that affects typical aspects of health. Achieving the three components of a definition of health requires education, implementation, and commitment from those charged with creating, maintaining, and promoting health.