The term health refers to a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. While the term “health” is defined by the World Health Organization as the absence of disease, it can also be understood as a comprehensive state of well-being. It is a complex concept resulting from the interaction of genetics, lifestyle, and environment. Many factors influence health, some of which are individual choices while others are structural and cannot be changed.
Whether we define health as the absence of disease or as the absence of illness is debatable. In some definitions, health is simply the absence of disease. In that sense, promoting health would mean reducing the prevalence of disease and preventing its onset. However, this definition misses many important elements of health. Health is not just about physical fitness, but also includes the capacity to function well, as well as the capacity to cope with stressful situations. Regardless of the definition, regular physical activity is important in promoting health.
Physical fitness includes a wide variety of aspects of well-being, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscular strength. Exercise, diet, and other factors also play a role in the maintenance of a healthy body weight. Mental health is important to a healthy lifestyle, and pursuing a balanced diet and physical fitness regimen are essential for maintaining overall health. Poor mental health, on the other hand, can lead to substance abuse and poorer quality of life.
Health is a complex phenomenon and not everyone experiences the same opportunities to achieve optimal physical, mental, and social well-being. Health outcomes are largely influenced by where we live and the social and economic conditions we live in. Therefore, MDPH focuses on the transformation of inequitable policies, social norms, and structural barriers to health. Changing these factors requires the participation of all stakeholders, including community leaders. The goal is to improve health, not simply to achieve a certain level of wellness.
Defining good health is a difficult task. A person may be physically healthy, disease-free, and resistant to physical hardship, yet still be mentally unsound. Mental health can be defined differently, and some people define it as the ability to function normally, while others define it as a state of stability. Ultimately, the definition of good health must allow for changes in one’s environment. That means that people with mental illness must consider what their environment is like and make accommodations to improve their well-being.
One recent study suggests that the WHO’s definition of health is outdated. They suggest that it no longer accurately describes the state of health despite the emergence of new and more complex concepts. According to Huber et al., the WHO’s definition of health is too narrow and does not address the underlying determinants of health. However, it is still important to have a definition that encompasses the broader concept of health.