What Are Determinants of Health Status?

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is an “uneven condition of the body in which all organs are functioning efficiently and normally and the population is healthy.” A number of definitions have also been used over the years for different medical purposes. In its simplest form, health is a state of well-being with respect to physical, emotional, and social aspects. It may be viewed as the quality of life that individual’s experience and the closeness they maintain with their bodies and communities. The definition also covers psychological aspects such as self-esteem, assertiveness, and social competence.


The good news is that the quality of public health and the definition it draws from personal knowledge has improved over time, especially in recent decades. Several frameworks have emerged to provide a more detailed understanding of this often complex concept. One approach to health/wellness is represented by the WHO (World Health Organization) and its divisions. This represents an international intergovernmental organization with a mission to promote international health and well-being.

WHO conceptualizes health as a complex process that involves physical, mental, social, and educational aspects. It aims to improve the health of the entire human community through prevention, early detection, and effective treatment of illness, disability, and premature death. WHO also monitors and disseminates research results on the status of global health, promoting and providing information on strategies and plans for the improvement of the health of all individuals? Some of the WHO’s activities include collecting and analyzing data on health, creating preventive and public health literature, and assisting the development of guidelines, protocols, and guidelines for clinical practice.

Within the field of public health, several dimensions or aspects are involved. These include prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases; teaching, counseling, and promotion of healthy behaviors; maintenance of healthy environments; and research. Prevention, diagnosis, and treatments of diseases are accomplished through a variety of public health programs. These include national programs, neighborhood health programs, and individual and group programs based in schools, communities, and homes.

The goal of prevention is to keep people away from diseases and health risks. Treatment, on the other hand, involves treating a disease or preventing it from spreading. Personal health education and counseling to help individuals understand their values and roles in improving their physical and mental health. These involve changing behaviors and attitudes, modifying unhealthy ways of thinking, making healthy food choices, and engaging in recreational activities that promote good health. Adequate personal hygiene and maintenance of clean environments are also important in maintaining healthy environments and preventing disease and disability.

All these dimensions are interrelated and intertwined with each other, determining individual and family health status and the state of their physical and mental well being. Determinants of health status include physical and mental determinants, environmental determinants, and psychosocial determinants. A healthy environment and good diet are positive determinants of health and physical determinants such as clean water and adequate sanitation are positive determinants of mental health. The concept of determinants has been around for a long time but it is only recently that the field of health science has recognized the interrelationship among all these aspects. This has led to the development of a series of concepts which are collectively known as determinants of health status.