Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. Different definitions have been employed for the purpose over the years. According to Merriam Webster health is, “the state of being healthy; the power of life.” To achieve health one must consider being healthy at all times, as this cannot be otherwise. It involves strength to face the challenges of modern life. It also involves the ability to control oneself and follow through with what one sets out to do.
The absence of disease, infirmity and death is what makes up a healthy living. It is not just something we aspire to but a matter of real possibility that can be attained. Well-being is the result of our ability to live well within reasonable constraints. Healthy living is an attitude of respect for health and the importance of maintaining it for ourselves and others. This attitude should have a continuous program of feedback from our physical actions, thoughts and feelings.
The third definition of health is “the state of having proper nutrition and self-respect”. When hunger strikes, our bodies respond by sending hunger signals to the brain. If this response is not controlled it leads to overeating until we are physically weak and then we suffer from disease, infirmity or death. This definition of healthy is actually the first two words, the third being “nutrition” since it is related to good nutrition.
The lack of healthy nutrition is identified as the leading cause of health equity, or the difference between persons who have better health and those who do not. The major causes of health inequities are physical and psychological differences. Health differences can be in the form of gender, ethnicity, social class, age, or any other basis identified by organizations that measure health. Disparities in health can also be caused by differences in behavior, attitudes, beliefs, or privileges, and even by physiological characteristics.
The fourth definition is the absence of disease. Disease implies any condition caused by an underlying disease or infection and the presence of symptoms does not prove the presence of disease. The absence of disease can be proved by observing a consistent pattern of symptoms over an extended period of time. When people have no clear-cut evidence of the presence of a disease, they consider their health to be indeterminate.
The fifth and most important definition of health policy is “expectation of fair treatment”. Fair treatment refers to the equal opportunity to participate in health programs and make use of services that every other person in the community is entitled to. Everyone has the right to avail health programs. Healthy lifestyles and appropriate diet can contribute to healthy expectancy. Healthy expectancy is the sixth definition of health policy, since it implies the avoidance of any disease.