The Importance of Defining Health
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition in which the body is protected from health threats. Various definitions have also been employed over the years for various purposes. The dictionary definition of health is, “exceeding the normal limits of life.” However, the definition of healthy varies from person to person. It also depends on the standards that are used for measuring health.
According to St. John’s Wort definition, “the absence of mental disorder or insanity, a clean state of the mind, free of emotional disturbance, normal muscular activity, no evidence of communicable diseases, no evidence of physical disorder or retardation, no signs of intoxication, and no incidences of unnatural violence or depredation.” Another definition is adapted from the Manual on Uniform Diseases and Clinical Terminology, which defines good health as having, with minimal complications, no significant illness, as illustrated by the absence of serious malignancies. The Oxford Dictionary defines health as, “the quality of being wholesome, sound, and well-balanced; a state in which the physical health, mental health, and social or emotional health are equally well-balanced.”
In clinical practice, however, the definition of health varies depending on the kind of assessment being made. For instance, a physical examination may point to problems related to mobility or concentration, whereas psychological assessment will focus on the patient’s mental health state. The next step up from this is diagnosis, where a diagnosis is made of the presence of the above-mentioned four characteristics. Once these have been determined, treatment commences.
It is a common misconception that the definition of health includes an absence of sickness, pain, disease, or death. Rather, healthy definition emphasizes the protection of the human body, ensuring that it continues to operate properly throughout the patient’s lifetime. It thus covers the aspects of physiological health, but also extends to the aspect of mental health and daily living, as well as the aspects of social and emotional health.
Another important factor to consider is the physical environment one lives in, including the presence of good health practices in one’s everyday life and the absence of unhealthy practices. This means that even if the absence of illness is sometimes disguised as poor health, it is not necessarily so. For example, while ill-health can affect your appetite, the absence of good eating habits can lead to obesity.
The definition of health is thus not just a matter of external symptoms and lack of disease, but is a process by which you assess your own health, examining your own behaviors, environments, and interactions with other people. Good health may not mean suffering from disease, but living with the disease can mean harming yourself and others with diseases that you would otherwise be able to prevent. By thinking about these various aspects of your life on a daily basis, you will be able to live a life that is both healthy and free of illness and disease. This definition of health is the third definition.