What is the Definition of Good Health?

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. Various definitions have been used over the years for varying purposes. Today, it has become a catchall description encompassing prevention, diagnosis, and management of any disease or condition. It also covers care of the patient after the disease has been cured.

Although the word “mental” and “life” are often used interdependently, there is considerable confusion between the two concepts. Health refers to the ability to survive and maintain good health. The term “well-being” on the other hand, refers to a state of the body that you would be comfortable living in and functioning in everyday life. Proper functioning of the mental health and the physical health depends on each other.

A healthy body can be achieved through a healthy diet, regular exercise, a good sleep, and avoidance of substance abuse. A healthy diet is essential to maintain the overall health of an individual because it contributes towards the maintenance of nutrition and proper absorption of nutrients. A lack of physical activity contributes towards a sedentary lifestyle which can result in poor health and disability.

The definition of “good health” has been expanded and includes prevention as well as treatment of existing illnesses. Prevention is a proactive approach that aims at the development of new knowledge and strategies to reduce or eliminate existing diseases. The use of prescription medication and medical interventions in the management of an existing disease only aims at the alleviation of symptoms and does not address the cause of the illness, hence its failure to prevent recurrence.

In addition, some health problems require a holistic approach which requires the simultaneous application of healthy behaviors and practices. The definitions for healthy behaviors might lead one to conclude that total avoidance of any unwanted activity might be healthy if it does not involve the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, or the consumption of foodstuffs high in fat and sugar. Healthful dieting may seem to reduce weight but the definition of “healthy” entails the avoidance of bad eating habits like overeating. A positive self-image and sense of self-worth are also important to maintain long term health. It is not possible to maintain a positive self-image and feel good about one’s self if one is continually overweight.

The definition of “good health” has been complicated by the use of the word disease in the definition. The word disease implies a deterioration in the normal functions of a body system. A decline in normal body functions could be the result of age or disease. These diseases include heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, the definition of healthy may refer to a state of health when all the major pathological conditions are present in an individual.

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