How to Define Health
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the state of total physical, mental and social health.” Different definitions have been applied over the years for various purposes. In medicine, it covers all the processes that result in the cure and prevention of diseases. For the general public, health implies physical well being as the result of diet, active living, and avoidance of passive smoking and other habits conducive to ill health. Health education is a major component of the Public Health Program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
The concepts of physical well-being, emotional wellness, and behavioral health are interrelated and intertwined. The three concepts are usually described in a positive manner, but there is a tendency to focus on one of them as the cause of the others. There are many health problems, ranging from a simple headache to serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, but prevention of such problems is always easier than curing them. And for this reason, healthy living is recommended as the best method of preventative health care.
In the field of public health, the definition of health has changed over time, with some additions and exclusions from what it used to be. A major addition is the inclusion of mental wellbeing and its impact on the individual’s ability to participate in society, work, and live an active role. While the definition still focuses on a person’s physical well-being, the emphasis now includes the person’s ability to lead a healthy lifestyle through a combination of diet and exercise, a positive outlook on life, and positive social interactions. It is also important to note that the definition of mental wellbeing has been revised numerous times over the years, but the importance of maintaining a positive outlook on life and avoiding risky behaviors remains a constant.