The definition of health by WHO is a powerful call to action for international policymakers. It was the mid-1950s when life expectancies were low worldwide: a mere 48 years for men and 53 for women. Polio and diphtheria were rampant. These infectious diseases led to high infant mortality and lower life expectancies. In the same period, chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and stroke were the leading causes of death. Today, these three diseases account for only 15% of all deaths globally.
According to this definition, health is a state of being and the capacity to function. The determinants of health are physical, mental, and social. It is difficult to measure health if there are no determinants. But if a person has the ability to make positive choices and avoid negative consequences, he or she is in good health. In contrast, the definition of health by the WHO is more holistic and includes the social, environmental, and behavioral dimensions of health.
Health inequalities are systematic, avoidable, and can be seen as a gradient across the population. Inequalities in health are unjust and need political action to address them. Health inequalities can be observed among groups of different racial or ethnicity, age, gender, and socioeconomic status. However, a definition of health must be inclusive of both forms of inequalities. There are many definitions of health inequalities, and there is no single definition that fits all circumstances.
It is essential to remember that science can help in many ways. Having access to science’s help has enabled medical researchers to better understand the causes of ill health and how to alleviate them. Scientific advances have removed much of the stigma associated with the notion of suffering, which dates back to clinical impotence. In this way, science has the potential to eradicate most of what once constituted a form of suffering. But we need to remember that there is still a long way to go before we are completely free from the effects of ill health.
While there are many jobs that pose a risk to health, the list of common diseases is long. Pneumoconiosis, coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, silicosis, asthma, and lung disease are just a few examples of these types of illnesses. Other diseases that can occur in the workplace include carpal tunnel syndrome and lead poisoning. For these reasons, it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately.