The Definition of Health

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. It not only encompasses the absence of disease but also the capacity for adaptation and self-management when faced with changes, difficulties or adversity.

Personal lifestyle plays an integral role in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. Eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep each night – these all play a role in decreasing the likelihood of illness.

Environment is another critical factor that has an effect on people’s health. Environmental elements can include pollution levels, germ presence and the quality of relationships.

Genetics is another factor that could impact someone’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. The genes inherited from parents determine an individual’s likelihood for developing certain diseases or conditions.

The way a person’s life is organized, such as employment opportunities, income levels and housing options, can have an impact on their health. These circumstances are commonly referred to as the’social determinants of health’ (Commission on Social Determinants of Health 2008).

Today, the definition of health most widely used is that established by the World Health Organization in 1948. Though groundbreaking at the time, this definition is now outdated; no longer adequate for an ageing population and inadequate in managing chronic diseases. It’s time to move beyond disease management towards one that more fully recognizes healthy living.