What Are the Determinants of Health?

Health is a state of total physical, mental and emotional well-being where infirmity and illness are either absent or not present. Various definitions have previously been used for different purposes. One of these is the Hippocratic definition in which the state of health implies the ability to live an active and healthy life in an environment that is free from pain and suffering. It also involves a person’s psychological health, including his ability to appreciate beauty, love, and social relationships.


The concepts of health and diseases are interrelated, as they usually go hand in hand. The two terms are often used interchangeably, even by laymen. A person’s health status can be affected by the amount of stress in his life, his eating habits, his lifestyle, the types of jobs he performs and whether he gets enough sleep. All these factors can cause health conditions to develop, which in turn can result in different kinds of diseases. These conditions are categorized into two: physical and mental illnesses.

To better understand what causes health conditions and how they develop, it is important to take a look at the different determinants of health status. Determinants refer to those elements that influence the development of health. Some of these elements include genes, lifestyle choices, environmental conditions, vitamins, minerals and medications. Since no determinant can exist without the other, a combination of all the determinants can result in the state referred to as complete health. However, all people cannot achieve this level of health because different people have different levels of stress, eat different kinds of foods, have different lifestyles and experiences various kinds of medical illnesses.