What is Health?
Published: December 27, 2013
Health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) "is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
This view of health takes into account not only the physical and mental conditions which determine health, but also the environmental conditions in which you live and considers social interactions (living and working environment), economic, educational, and cultural situations which influence your health.
However, health can mean different things to different people. Have you ever thought about what health means to you?
For some people health means only the absence of disease or not being sick. However, many people consider health in a holistic way that takes into account physical, mental, spiritual, and environmental health.
When asked to define health, few people give the WHO definition, but define the condition according to their meaning of health. Being disease free is usually included in most personal definitions of health along with some or all of the following descriptors:
- feeling good
- being happy
- not being tired
- having energy to do the things you want to do
- enjoying life
- looking good
- being the right weight
- living in a healthy environment
- eating nutritious food
- taking regular exercise
- using alcohol in moderation
- not being too fat or too thin
- not smoking
- not being sick
- being fit
- feeling of wellness
- being mentally alert
- not being depressed
- being strong, both physically and mentally
Some people also include health risks: or rather not being at risk for disease such as heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
What is your definition of health? You may or may not have ever contemplated what you mean when you talk about health, say you want to be healthy, or maintain your good health?
Do you feel healthy at this moment? If so why? If not why not?
If you do feel healthy what is it that you do to be healthy?
If you don't feel healthy can you make changes in your life that will improve your health?
What "health" outcomes do you expect in the future? Do you consider your current behaviour may put you at increased risk for disease sometime in the future?
Many health determinants cannot be changed or may not be within you control to change at this time, but if you consider that you do not feel healthy there are some lifestyle changes that you can make that may contribute to improved health and wellbeing over time.
The food that your eat or don't eat and the physical activity that you do or don't do can positively or negatively your health. The environment in which you live has a tremendous influence on your eating and exercise habits.
When you are thinking about what health means to you, you may also want to consider those things which influence your eating and exercise habits. How do family, friends, work colleagues, the media, politicians, celebrities, and other social communities influence what you eat and do?
Making "health" improving changes to what you eat and your level of physical activity may not be easy, but the benefits to be gained are considerable when it comes to reducing risk of disease and improving the way you feel.
Just as there are possibly many meanings of health there are many ways of achieving health through eating well and being physically active.
Clinical physical indicators can assess your health, but you can also learn to know what "feels right" for you personally which accounts for your broader understanding and meaning of health.
Follow the embedded links to various articles which will help you build your blueprint for eating and being physically active for health.