The Definition of Health

The World Health Organization defines health as the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. We can promote health by engaging in activities that promote good health, avoiding unhealthy activities, and promoting physical activity. While some factors affect a person’s overall state of wellness, others are structural in nature and cannot be changed easily. For example, a person’s weight and blood pressure may not be considered healthy, but these can be important factors for their overall health.


The World Health Organization’s constitution states that “a person’s right to health is to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental well-being”. Because this is a generalized definition of health, it fails to account for the wide variety of diseases and disabilities that can be caused by poor physical and mental conditions. It also fails to acknowledge the role of relationships in the quality of a person’s life. Despite the growing understanding of health, people’s experiences of health are often limited.

In 1948, the World Health Organization adopted a definition of health that includes “complete well-being” as a core component of being healthy. However, this definition is outdated, and is unworkable. Very few people will experience complete wellbeing all of the time. In fact, this concept is counterproductive, as it fails to account for a person’s physical or mental disabilities. Furthermore, it contributes to over-medicalization of society.

The World Health Organization’s constitution recognizes the right to health as a basic human right. This definition includes the ability to live in a society free of diseases and physical ailments. This definition also highlights the need for the social and mental determinants of health. For example, an individual’s physical condition will affect their mental state. When a person experiences stress, they may experience depression, which is the opposite of health. The World Bank has a comprehensive list of conditions that contribute to mental and physical wellbeing.

The definition of health is very complex. The medical model, for example, only emphasizes disease. A biopsychosocial model, on the other hand, considers the mental, social, and emotional components of health. The WHO’s definition of health is often too broad, and is therefore not a good way to determine what is healthy in a society. If we have the right to live well, we must be healthy. In order to promote wellness, we must first understand the concept of health.

The definition of good health varies from place to place. For example, in mountainous regions, an individual may be suffering from heart attacks if he/she is not in good health. At sea level, the definition of a healthy person may be a person with anaemia and shortness of breath. In these areas, people with a healthier lifestyle will be more likely to participate in their communities. If this is the case, it will be necessary to adapt our health-related standards.