What Is Good Health?
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. Many definitions have been applied over time to describe what it means to be healthy. These may include spirituality, holistic health, or even the balanced scorecard approach. The first definition, from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health Problems, defines health as “the quality of being capable of living a normal and successful life.” It is something that we all desire, but few could live without.
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors view wellness through a lens of disease prevention rather than disease treatment. It is also defined by differences in health behaviors and attitudes between groups. The first step in health promotion is addressing disparity in health behaviors and attitudes. The higher the infant mortality rate, for example, the more important it becomes to address health disparities in attitudes and practices.
The study found that the two factors most associated with poor mental health were physical illness and smoking, followed by lower self-rated overall well-being. Both physical illness and smoking were associated with declining well-being. In addition, low physical activity was associated with greater declines in well-being than did smoking. Smoking was also associated with significant increases in the infant mortality rate.
The second definition is to be healthy as having the capacity for enduring an illness or disease, and for the capacity to function normally in a way that is usual for one’s age, sex, and culture. This definition has many variations, depending on who is defining what the normal condition is and how the definition is interpreted. Different definition, on the other hand, would take sickness or disease cases to include the inability to work that affects one’s capacity for living. It would also include mental illnesses and perhaps even personality disorders.
The third definition, from the perspective of preventive care, would be healthy as having a reasonable chance of recovering from a disease or illness and having a normal life expectancy. It would not include an overall health condition, but instead focus on the ability to handle typical disease processes and survive them. The ability to carry out day-to-day activities would be taken into account. The resulting definition of good health could then serve as a point of reference for deciding whether a person meets the requirements for a disease or illness label.
Based on these definitions, it would be concluded that the first two, on the basis of epidemiological studies, are less severe than the third definition. Illness and mortality rates are higher when the presence of a disease is absent. Thus, absence makes a big difference. While a healthy diet and a good lifestyle are very important in reducing morbidity and mortality rates, absence makes a bigger difference in the long run.