Better Health: The Importance of Wellness
It is an important concept to be aware of when considering one’s health. According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity.” Various definitions have been applied over the years for various purposes. It was first thought that physical health was something that could be achieved through the avoidance of diseases, though it should be noted that this definition includes the prevention of diseases from happening in the first place.
Today, the idea of wellness has taken on a whole new meaning, one that includes both physical and mental aspects. The National Health and Wellness Association defines wellness as, “the capacity to experience enjoyment or well-being, regardless of the environment or circumstance”. Factors that affect the quality of a person’s well-being include family history, socioeconomic status, physical activities, healthy diet, exposure to hazards or risks, emotional health, and other factors.
Medical research is constantly growing, and there are many new developments on the horizon that will further define what it means to be healthy. The United States Department of Health and Human Services released a report that defines a basic framework for determining the level of wellness in an individual. From this framework, the individual behavior and physical characteristics of the person are evaluated to determine what their health needs may be. These health needs can then be translated into action by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and provided to providers as guidelines for what type of health services might be best for an individual.
There are several ways to determine a person’s health status, but the ultimate goal is to keep people in a state of healthy living. A major part of the definition for physical well being defines a balanced combination of diet, exercise, and social activities. In order to achieve this goal, a balanced combination of all of these components must be present. The ultimate goal is to reduce the prevalence of chronic illnesses that usually lead to disability and death.
Prevention is the best medicine, as Dr. David Katz, author of Eating Right, has explained. Preventing an illness means keeping away from it before it happens. Although genetics play a role in whether an individual will develop an illness or not, environmental factors such as poor nutrition, stress, and lack of exercise can also contribute to an individual’s well-being. Environmental factors are usually dealt with through education. In the case of physical well-being, education can be even more critical, as a poor physical health can directly lead to other life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Individuals who are aware of their health status and who take preventative measures are less likely to develop serious illness or disability.
Although the United States has made some progress toward identifying and preventing many common diseases and disorders, there is still much work to be done. As with any public health issue–such as cleanliness and hygiene, smoking, nutrition, and physical health–revention is the best approach. Educating the public about the ways in which they can promote good health and prevent illness is a crucial part of this campaign. By identifying and reducing the sources of individual and social stress, as well as promoting physical wellness and maintaining a healthy weight, individuals can enjoy improved wellbeing, better health, and a long lifespan.