Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition that “is maintained by means of good general health, proper nutrition, easy mobility, and protection against the risks of death and disease.” Different definitions have been applied to health over the years. Some consider it to be a state of well being while others consider it as the condition of being healthy. It is used in a lot of different contexts but it usually refers to being in good physical condition. This includes but is not limited to the total health of the body, mind and spirit.
Many people often debate definitions of health and wellbeing. There is an ongoing debate between medical definitions of health and public health definitions. The main difference between the two is that the former are often more rigid than the latter. Medical definitions of health tend to focus on disease prevention, whereas public health ones stress the importance of treating all possible disorders and ensuring good wellbeing.
When it comes to disease prevention, many experts agree that prevention is better than cure. There are many examples of this. For instance, it is said that prevention is better than cure for diabetes. It is said that prevention is better than cure for heart diseases, cancer and other fatal diseases. It is also said that prevention is better than cure for mental illnesses such as depression. Most of the public health definitions of such illnesses include mental illnesses as mental disorder with harmful effects.
The second area where we can focus our attention is well-being. As the saying goes, “being well means well.” The definition of well-being has much to do with physical and mental health. Studies show that physical and mental wellness depends to a large extent on environmental factors. One example of an environmental factor that affects the level of well-being is poverty.
Well-being is also affected by the social support system. One of the reasons why poor people have higher rates of disability and illness is because they lack the resources to seek treatment or to afford proper health care. Lack of social support makes them vulnerable to disease. On the other hand, rich people are more likely to perceive a medical issue as a serious problem. Thus, the ability to interpret environmental factors also plays an important role in their perception of illness and disability.
Health, sickness and disease are a part of life. Unfortunately, they are also often difficult to define because the definition of illness and disease has been shifting for decades. The current attempt to create universal health care definitions is fraught with problems. As more people become aware of these problems, efforts to improve health and the absence of language limitations will likely result in more accurate descriptions of disease, illness and disability.