Understanding the Meaning of Health
The definition of health is not easy. For some it means being healthy and for others it means being well. Health is a relative concept that varies between individuals. Some consider a perfectly health condition to be one where all the organs are functioning properly and health maintenance activities are being carried out effectively. Conditions that fall short of these standards are said to be unhealthy and there is a great deal of debate as to what constitutes such a condition.
According to the World Health Organization, “Health, as with the physical aspect of life, is an essential need for the human race.” A number of definitions have also been used over the years for medical purposes. One school of thought is that good health is achieved through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoidance of environmental factors that can adversely affect health.
There is much debate as to what makes up a healthy life. Some believe that long life expectancy is the ultimate indicator of a person’s health. Others disagree, pointing out that life expectancy is influenced by many factors, including genetics. Still others believe environmental factors account for most of the variation in life expectancy. It is difficult to study the effect of environmental factors on life expectancy, since life expectancy varies from person to person according to both genetic and environmental conditions.
To better determine how health refers to a person’s quality of life, it is useful to examine how it is defined. In most modern societies, health is commonly understood to mean a measure of the ability to engage in socially acceptable activity and to survive in the community. According to recent studies, a number of social and environmental determinants of good health exist. In this article, we will discuss some of these factors.
The level of social interaction is considered to be an important determinant of health. In most developed countries, people are active members of communities that provide opportunities for social interaction. It has been found that people who are satisfied with their relationships and who are easily integrated into the social milieu are healthy, whereas those who find it hard to integrate and who experience greater difficulties integrating are unhealthy. A state of complete mental and physical well-being also contributes to good health.
The presence of psychological well-being or health is likely to be higher where there are greater opportunities for interaction and socialization. Conversely, a state of mental illness is associated with lesser levels of social interaction. People suffering from mental illness are often unhappy with their situations and are unable to cope with stress and pressure. A state of mental illness is also linked to fewer physical health and poorer health outcomes. The presence of physical illness is also likely to be higher where the number of people without health insurance is high.