Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity”. A number of definitions have also been applied to it over the years. But whatever the definition may be, the effect on the quality of life is always the same: health is a state of life in its best possible form. What do we mean by this concept? We mean a balance between body, mind and spirit that guarantees long-term growth and development.
The Healthy House Foundation, a Franklin County, Virginia non-profit organization, defines what it means when people say that they are in “the best possible health”. According to the Foundation, a person is said to be in good health if he or she “likes, feels satisfied with, and has the energy, strength and stamina to get through each day with the maximum of personal resources.” In addition, the foundation defines health equity as “expectant mothers having healthy children”. Equally important, the foundation stresses that health equity includes children, women, men and older adults. As a part of achieving health equity, mothers should be educated about prenatal care and breastfeeding.
Health education is one of the tools for ensuring a balanced life. People know that healthy eating and regular exercise are important for good health. More people are becoming aware of the relationship between stress and poor health. A holistic approach to stress management is now recommended for well-being. A combination of stress management and good diet is a proven way to prevent the development of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Stress and mental health are closely connected; both increase the likelihood of developing problems like depression and anxiety. It is essential for people to have positive social relationships and to manage stress in a positive way. A good physical environment in the home, workplace or school can contribute to healthy lifestyle choices and to mental health. A healthy mental environment is essential for people to perform at their best and to feel confident and happy.
Poor diets, sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise all adversely affect mental health. The American Heart Association and other medical organizations stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise. Children who are physically active and whose diets include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low fat dairy products have better overall health than those who are overweight or obese, or who have poor dietary habits. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein and low in fat contributes to a healthy weight management program. Healthy lifestyle choices, such as increased physical activity, daily meditation and breathing exercises, are important components of an effective weight loss program.
There are many challenges that face our society today, including more women entering the workforce and increasing health communication between men and women. Health education and prevention initiatives are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and can be used to address these issues. A comprehensive public health program can include food safety and nutrition, immunization and disease education, community health promotion, and measures to reduce health risk among current and future populations. A comprehensive plan should include public education and promotion of healthy behaviors and programs, including the promotion of nutrition and physical activity, nutritional counseling, and measures to decrease health risk among the population as a whole and specific populations. Prevention programming and activities can be incorporated into any health plan and can include the improvement of nutritional and active lifestyle practices, promoting greater participation and monitoring of nutritional habits and increased attention to current health among at-risk individuals.