The Determinants of Well-Being

We all would like to live in a healthy society where people live longer, have strong productive lives and spend their time happily. The pursuit of happiness is the basis of all social enterprise and even the pursuit of wealth is not complete without health. Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. With the improvement in medical technology, we are now able to overcome many illnesses which were fatal in the past. However, with the ever increasing trend of stress and obesity, more people are now falling prey to these dreaded conditions.

Mental health refers to your thoughts, attitude and your ability to cope with daily challenges. Health of the mind is a product of our physical health. People who lead hectic and unhealthy lives are also prone to developing mental disorders like depression and anxiety. A healthy mental state leads to overall health, which includes strong immunity against diseases and increases one’s quality of life.

Occupational health refers to the safety measures adopted by an employer to ensure good health of their employees at work. It also takes into account the reduction of risks of incurring injury and illness at work. The goal of occupational health is to protect the worker from accidents and injury, while preventing employees from becoming sick or leaving the job due to illness. Occupational safety programs and policies must be based on the skills, experience and interests of the workforce.

Stress and anxiety are two of the most common factors that affect the overall health status of a person. They can weaken the body’s immune system and increase the risk of infections and other diseases. People who experience frequent and long-term stress suffer from more serious health conditions including heart disease, depression, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and mental disorders. In order to maintain a healthy mental, physical and emotional state, people need to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.

Mental health on the other hand, involves the ability to cope with everyday activities and situations, as well as adaptive skills. People who have mental health problems are less likely to have workplace injuries or be prescribed medications for their illnesses. However, people with mental health conditions are at high risk of depression, which can lead to physical illness if untreated. In fact, some types of mental health are directly related to physical illness and vice versa. Stress, anxiety and depression can also affect a person’s overall health by reducing his ability to think rationally and focus on his tasks.

The quality of life index, otherwise known as the SMID model, examines health determinants such as social well-being, physical determinants such as age and gender, and environmental factors such as exposure to tobacco smoke, noise, and chemicals in the workplace. It then assigns a numerical value to each of these determinants. For example, age is considered to be a determinant for the level of physical activity among adults, while sex is associated with both age and physical activity. The total score indicates how much each of the four determinants affects quality of life.

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