Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity.’ A wide variety of cultural definitions have also been used over the years. In some instances, health may be viewed as a physiological state. This definition is also used in defining what constitutes disability.
The discipline of health sciences seeks to bring forth knowledge about the causes and prevention of diseases and other health-related issues. In the US, this field has been occupied by many prominent researchers, doctors and public health experts. Some notable people include: Robert Yolton, Sr., recipient of the National Science Foundation’s medal of excellence for his work in health sciences; Allen Carr, author of books on diet and nutrition and proponent of “balance nutrition”; Michael Schlar, co-discoverer of the human gene encoding insulin-like growth factor (HGH) and the University of Minnesota’s Diabetes Center; William Sears, who was responsible for the first modern examination of AIDS; and Michelangelo, who founded the Arts and Sciences Research Foundation. Psychology, sociology, and clinical psychology have also produced important contributions to health science. Together these fields form the major areas of research and treatment.
One major component of health science is medical research. Since time immemorial, man has been attempting to improve the health of his body. Ancient Greece and China were known to have devised methods for preventing and curing diseases. In recent times, with the aid of science, medical experts have developed more efficient ways of dealing with various health problems, preventing the development of diseases, and preventing the recurrence of diseases once developed.
For example, researchers have conducted numerous studies aimed at determining the factors that affect life expectancy. They have found that poor health policy and lack of exercise affect life expectancy. Researchers have also determined that chronic diseases are highly preventable. They have also pointed out that substance abuse, smoking, and consumption of alcoholic beverages greatly increase life expectancy. A number of researches have suggested that life expectancy can be increased by quitting smoking and alcohol consumption.
Another important component of public health is the treatment of chronic diseases. Chronic diseases include those that take years to manifest and may cause severe disabilities to a person’s life. These include diabetes, cardiac conditions, asthma, and multiple sclerosis. As chronic diseases are increasing in numbers throughout the industrialized world, effective public health services are becoming extremely essential.
The government, as well as private organizations, is taking steps to improve the health care system. For example, the American government has a number of programs designed to provide funds for basic and clinical research activities as well as community health services. Many private foundations are also providing funding for health services, as well as for promoting general well-being. However, most of these projects are focused on dealing with HIV/AIDS and other forms of STDs. Other projects focus on reducing poverty and improving nutrition, while others are geared towards environmental issues and energy consumption.