What is the definition of good health? Some people define health by a variety of factors, including physical and mental fitness, social and cultural status, and sustainability. While these factors can be helpful, defining health by cause can create circular logic and lead to misunderstanding. In addition, it may be difficult to assess the degree of health in a particular population or context. To develop a comprehensive definition of health, it is essential to understand the contexts in which people live.
A ‘complete health’ concept is unattainable. Few people ever achieve total wellbeing, so such a view can be counterproductive and often fails to account for the reality of chronic illness and disability. It also contributes to over-medication in our societies. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the importance of our bodies and minds when considering the concept of health. There are many ways in which our bodies are connected and influence our sense of well-being. While we cannot predict the future of our bodies and minds, we can strive to improve our health and well-being.
The WHO’s definition of health was a powerful clarion call for international action. In the 1950s, global life expectancy for men and women was 48 and 53 respectively. Infant mortality, such as diphtheria, was a huge contributor to low life expectancies. Today, chronic diseases have undergone transformation as well. Earlier, heart disease, cancer, and stroke were the three leading causes of death in the US. The definition of health has changed significantly since then, but the fundamental principles of health have not.
The World Health Organization defines health as complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Various factors affect health, including diet, lifestyle, exercise, and stress levels. The ultimate goal of healthcare is to promote good health. In Canada, people are generally healthier than their counterparts in developed countries, which may be due to the fact that they have better access to health care and a better lifestyle. Living in good health is critical for handling stress and living an active life.
Social and physical environments are major determinants of health. These factors influence physical and mental health and interact with genetic make-up. Those who live in areas with clean water and air are likely to be healthy, and the health of their neighbors is affected by environmental conditions. Similarly, a poor physical environment can have a negative impact on mental health and cause high rates of obesity and other conditions. It is therefore essential to understand the social and physical environments in which people live.
Despite these factors, physical and mental health are inextricably linked. The accumulation of evidence in recent decades has challenged the historical notion that the mind and body are separate. Mechanisms of association between the two are often physical, social, and psychological, as described in the biopsychosocial model of health. This two-way relationship between the two is essential for achieving the optimal level of health and wellbeing. So how do we define health? To begin, think about what you’re trying to achieve.