Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the state of total health wherein all the components of body health are adequately functioning and appropriate to cope with the environment.” A number of definitions have also been applied to the concept of health. For example, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) states that “health is the sum of the total magnitude of the effects of health on the individual.” The definition is highly useful in determining what is meant by wellness. It is a state when all parts of the person are functioning well with one another.
Health is considered a complex concept with many interpretations and different schools of thought. Some people believe it to be a monetary or power-based concept, while other people think that it encompasses all aspects of life. In today’s world, there are many different views on what constitutes health. One of the most popular discussions in the online environment revolves around the concept of quality of life. Quality of life is the desire of humans to be productive, healthy and happy in all facets of their lives.
Some see health care as the definition of everything that surrounds us in this physical realm. Health care then is the process of preventing, treating and eliminating diseases, enhancing and promoting healthy living. The IOM further explained, “Healthy living means an environment that enables and facilitates the active participation of each individual to achieve his fullest potential.” In other words, this definition encompasses all of our interactions with each other, as well as the society. The IOM further clarified that this definition is most important in determining the definition of quality of life.
There are a number of definitions that pertain to health promotion as well. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines general well-being as “the ability to experience emotional, physical, and mental health and well-being.” The Department of Labor defines well-being as “the capacity to enjoy complete mental satisfaction with a capacity for well-being.” In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines well-being as “a state of total well-being that is essential to survival.” These definitions clearly establish that health promotion is a key component to the definition of well-being.
In addition to general definitions of well-being, there are also specific definitions that pertain to a person’s specific situation. The definition of morbidity includes those who have serious illnesses or disabilities which cause them to experience pain and suffering. This suffering can include extreme pain, lack of function, and/or disability. On the other hand, the definition of disability includes those individuals who experience inactivity, self-respect, functional limitation, age, and education deficits. The definition of morbidity emphasizes the need to prevent illness and death due to disease by improving health promotion and the social environment. The Social Environment refers to the factors that contribute to or prevent health and illness including schools, families, communities, work, and the population as a whole.
This article has described the four distinct perspectives that are used to understand what the definition of the health care system is. Each perspective utilizes a different philosophy that views health care as a process of identifying and treating those who cannot otherwise medically defend themselves. However, the three perspectives all agree on the necessity of improving the health system in order to reduce the number of deaths due to disease, while ensuring that all individuals have access to quality health care. As described above, this is a complex issue that has many dimensions and is best discussed in greater detail in future articles.