Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition of total health which includes all the physical aspects and components of life which contributes to one’s well being. A variety of individualistic definitions have been used over the years for diverse purposes. The definition of health has changed with time, for example, there was a time when being healthy meant having long life span, being free from disabilities, having strong body, brain, heart and other physical factors.
Now, a definition of good health would be having a reasonable balance between health, strength, endurance, and freedom from disability. The definition of disability, on the other hand, pertains to those circumstances in life where the person finds it difficult to perform the basic tasks of life. It could be due to age, disease or psychological problems. It is therefore important to understand that the definition of good health would differ from person to person and country to country. In general, a country’s National Health Service (NHS) defines what good health means.
On the other hand, a definition of health would include preventive measures, basic and clinical nutrition, basic practices of medical and dental hygiene, maintaining reasonable expectations regarding the quality and safety of the services received, the maintenance of social environments that promote well-being, education and promotion of health related media and culture. In addition, general population management is included in the general health promotion efforts. These activities are designed to address the needs of the general population, including effective utilization of technology, establishment of policies that will facilitate community participation, development and implementation of quality programs, and research and evaluation programs. Overall, these activities are aimed at increasing health knowledge and public awareness on issues related to health, especially those that have an impact on the well-being of the general population.
Prevention is another way of improving general health by defining health as well-being. The concept of prevention can be understood by the womb analogy. The baby inside the mother’s womb is completely protected by the woman’s body. There is no chance for any dangerous risks to enter the body of the baby. However, once the woman gives birth to the baby, she leaves him/her exposed to harmful environmental factors, which might include stress, toxicity, dehydration, malnutrition, infectious diseases and physical hazards. This is how environmental factors, such as toxins, contribute towards causing poor health outcomes and promoting poor nutritional, physical and mental health.
Achieving defined health implies complete physical and mental wellness. Health promotion also involves taking care of the environment, making social well-being a priority, promoting education and information about diseases and their prevention, improving healthcare practices and promoting prevention and early detection of new medical conditions. The holistic approach to health makes people more aware of their habits and the need to take care of their health and their surroundings. Achieving defined health is possible because the entire population has a role to play in promoting its overall health and well-being.
It is important to note that achieving a holistic approach to health care delivery requires comprehensive changes at the levels of government, society, communities and families. These changes are necessary if we want to define health care as a complete process that includes prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of the whole person. Defined health systems are based on science and technology and address the whole person, thus eliminating the possibility for disease occurrence. This definition of health care enables individuals, families and societies to realize the importance of prioritizing prevention, maintaining quality and ensuring early detection of medical conditions and resulting diseases. It is important to note that all these developments will require sustained effort from an interdisciplinary team of professionals, supported by research and action plans and a vision for the future.