The Definition of Health and Its Implications For Policy makers
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is, “a state of total physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of sickness and disease.” A variety of other definitions have also been applied over time to describe the condition. Most commonly, when we speak of health, we are thinking about the absence of illness. However, even though we often think of health when we speak of the body, there are many other aspects of health, such as the quality of life, the quality of the environment, and communication, which are all interrelated and contribute to the quality of health.
Some definitions of health vary depending on who you ask. Many of the modern definitions of healthy, as derived from modern research, emphasize the prevention of illness and disease as the most important aspect of maintaining good health. However, the definition of healthy can be a bit vague. It can mean the absence of disease or death from illness. It can also mean a state of mental and emotional well-being. There are also definitions that stress the importance of exercise and proper nutrition.
The goal of defining health is to provide a framework through which people can understand and appreciate their bodies and how to take care of them. Without health, the ability to properly care for your body and live a full life is impossible. As with any definition, the goal of defining health is to create an approach to examining one’s life that is objective and unbiased. One cannot honestly decide for oneself what is not a definition of health. As a result, the work associated with defining health often generates controversy among those who study the field.
For instance, a definition of healthy could be the absence of serious illnesses and diseases, but that definition would certainly exclude those with mental illnesses. An individual could be healthy but still contract a deadly disease like AIDS, leukemia, and HPV because a definition of healthy and a definition of disease could both fail to consider the distinction between the two. The work of doctors and other professionals who study and promote healthy living can become controversial when attempts are made to apply these definitions to cases that have large degrees of variation.
The issue of defining health is more complex in the case of mental health. Mental health has become a controversial area of research and policy, and there has been much debate over what diseases are mental illnesses and how they should be classified. Some people argue that even if a person develops one of the major definitions of disease, such as depression, that person is still depressed and requires ongoing treatment. In this instance, prevention of the disease through medications is preferable to any form of cure.
Another issue that arises when the definition of health becomes controversial is the definition of longevity. Many researchers agree that there is no single definition of life expectancy, since different factors affect an individual’s life expectancy. Some people live for decades or even centuries, and others only live a year or two. A life expectancy debate exists over whether an increase in longevity is due to increasing age, natural causes, or a combination of many factors. This problem leads many researchers to conclude that a better way to predict life expectancy is by using complex mathematical equations that take into account the effects of age, disease, nutrition, and other factors.