In order to determine the health condition of an individual, a person’s health depends on a wide range of factors which must be kept in mind. Some people refer to health as the state of being fit. Others consider health as the absence of ill-health. Still others believe that health is determined by the body’s immune system. This article briefly covers the broad concepts of health, discusses some of the ways by which health can be affected and discusses some common difficulties in determining health status.
The goal of public health is to promote healthy living. Healthy life styles are believed to contribute to longer life and avoid diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. By extension, a healthy lifestyle includes good health practices and a low total fat, low-saturated fat, and low sodium diet. A variety of risk factors are associated with good health.
An effective health policy can reduce health disparities by promoting better health. A good policy can reduce health disparities by reducing the incidence and prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. In addition, an effective policy can reduce the burden and costs of chronic and common diseases, while promoting prevention and early recovery from serious or fatal diseases such as strokes, coronary artery disease, HIV/AIDS, and certain types of cancers.
Prevention is better than treatment. This adage holds good for diseases like obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes. The goal of health promotion is to reduce the risks of developing and acquiring illness through all possible routes – the eating of the right foods, the regular exercise, the quitting of bad habits like tobacco use, and the use of recreational drugs. The extent to which an individual can control his or her own health is limited only by his or her will and capacity.
The first step towards promoting health is to understand the disparity in health between poor and rich communities. Demographic research is important in analyzing health disparities. Differences in health behaviors, physical environment, culture, beliefs, and health education can explain health disparities. Understanding the causes of health disparities helps us design interventions that target those areas that are vulnerable to health threats. The challenge is to design interventions that yield consistent and lasting effects.
It has been argued that focusing on symptoms alone can obscure the underlying problems that lead to health disparities. The approach of identifying the causes of health disparities can be likened to trying to solve a problem by cutting out the symptom and treating the person as if there was no problem at all. A common example of this is the practice of exposing young infants to lead paint for just a few hours during pregnancy. If you want to ensure the safety of your baby, you must prevent all potential risks.