What Is Health?

Health is a condition of emotional, physical and mental well-being where infirmity and illness are absent. It also entails the prevention of future diseases, deterioration of health and improvement of the quality of life. It encompasses prevention of diseases, promotion of fitness, maintenance of health, the development of new knowledge and advancements in the health sciences. It involves care of the mind, body and spirit to promote the achievement of wellness.

The definition of Health has been an ongoing discussion. There have been numerous definitions formulated over time. One school of thought defines Health as the ability to lead a reasonable life capable of carrying out day to day activities with a tolerable degree of personal freedom. Another definition suggests that Health is not only a measure of total life expectancy but also the capacity to attain and preserve health, the ability to cope with common diseases and to keep oneself healthy at all times. However, the third definition, which is the one most accepted by experts, emphasizes the importance of defining health so as to have a better understanding of how people interact with each other and how diseases affect them.

The focus on defining Health has resulted into the identification of various health systems. This would include fee for service, primary care, acute care, community health services, geriatric care, hospital outpatient care, disability income, health management in schools, work health care, health risk and occupational health, and comprehensive service programs. These have been further categorized into speciality areas. The scope of Health services is quite huge, thus health care systems have been further divided into types, like Community Health Management, Personal Health Care, Hospital Management, Medical Health Services, Providers / Specialists, and Disease Control.

The result of this complex definition is an increasing disparity between the health status of the poor and the well-being of the rich. As the disparity between the poor and the well-living is widening, it is affecting the mental health and physical well-being of millions of people in the US. Studies have shown that there is a growing gap between the mental health of black people and that of white people, which has also widened the gaps between men and women. There is also increasing disparity between rural and urban environments, resulting in the mental health of people in one setting being far poorer than that of another.

The National Health Service (NHS) defines Health as the care you receive from a qualified health provider and the ability to carry out your own basic needs. According to the NHS definition, Health is the sum of all the essential benefits that you get from the performance of your physical and mental capacity, and the preservation of your life. Health care is the result of the inter-relationship between your health, your emotions and their relation to your physical and mental capacity. Health would also include the quality of your relationships, the control of your body weight and your eating habits, and your education and your work. These all inter-relate, to provide you with your essential benefits.

It is quite evident that people living in healthful lifestyle experiences happiness, and this happiness pay off in the sense that they have better performance at work, they live longer, they have lower chances of incurring diseases and they are more productive. On the other hand, those who don’t live a healthy lifestyle suffer from more illnesses and are less happy. Living a healthy lifestyle includes having a good diet and regular exercise as well as taking medicines as prescribed by a doctor when necessary. A person who doesn’t practice a healthy lifestyle will be more likely to acquire a number of diseases as they age. The NHS definition of Health gives importance to a well-balanced and healthy diet and lifestyle.

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