Health refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well-being. Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Healthcare exists to help people maintain an optimal state of health.
Additionally, health may be defined as the ability to adapt and manage physical, mental and social challenges throughout one’s life.
The WHO further shed light on health definition and stated that health is a resource for everyday living, and a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.
More recently, researchers have defined health as the ability of a body to adapt to new threats and ailments. Modern science has dramatically increased human awareness of diseases and how they work in the last few decades.
In 2015, the population of the United States (U.S.) spent an estimated $3.2 trillion on healthcare costs, and yet, a study by the U.S. National Research Council, published in 2013, showed that Americans die at a younger age and experience more illness and injury than people in other developed countries.
Good health is central to handling stress and living a long and energetic life.
Fast Facts On Health
- Health can be defined as physical, mental, and social well-being, and as a resource for living a complete life.
- Health refers not only to the absence of disease but the ability to recover and bounce back from illness and other problems.
- Factors for good health include genetics, the environment, relationships, and education or learning.
- A balanced and healthy diet, exercise, screening for diseases, and coping strategies can all enhance a person’s health.
Factors For Good Health
Health depends on a wide range of factors that may include genetics, the environment, relationships, and education.
A person is born with a range of genes. In some people, an unusual genetic pattern can lead to a less-than-optimum level of health.
Environmental factors also play a role, and sometimes the environment alone is enough to impact health. However, there are times, an environmental trigger can cause illness in a person who is genetically susceptible.
Access to healthcare plays a role. The WHO suggests that the following factors may have an impact on health:
- where a person lives
- education level
- relationships with friends and family
- the state of the surrounding environment
These can be summarized as:
- The social and economic environment, including how wealthy a family or community is
- The physical environment, including parasites that exist in an area, or pollution levels
- The person’s characteristics and behaviors, including the genes that a person is born with and the choices of their lifestyle
- According to the WHO, the higher a person’s socio-economic status, the more likely they are to afford good healthcare, enjoy good health, a good education, and a well-paid job.
- Cultural issues like the traditions and customs of a society and a family’s response to them can affect health and have a good or bad impact on health. Around the Mediterranean, people are more likely to consume high levels of fruits, and vegetables, compared with cultures with a high consumption of fast food.
- How a person manages stress will affect health, and people who smoke, drink, or take drugs are likely to have more health problems later than someone who combats stress through a healthful diet, exercise and meditation/yoga.
- Men and women are prone to different health factors, and women may be at greater risk than men for poor health.
The best way to maintain health is to preserve it through a healthy lifestyle. We should not wait until we are sick to put things right.
This state of enhanced well-being is referred to as wellness and can be defined as a state of optimum well-being that is oriented toward maximizing an individual’s potential.
This is a life-long process of moving towards improving your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental well-being.
Maintaining wellness and top health is a lifelong, daily commitment.
Steps That Can Help Us Maximize Our Health
- a balanced, nutritious diet (organic or natural is best)
- steady exercising
- screening for diseases
- stress management
- participating in activities that provide purpose and connection to others
- maintaining a positive outlook
- appreciating what you have at the moment
- outlining a value system, and putting it into action
Optimal health is different for each person, and how you achieve wellness may be different from how someone else does.
It may not be possible to avoid disease completely, but doing as much as we can to develop vigor and resilience and prepare the body and mind to fight illnesses and problems as they arise is a step we can all take.