There are three fundamental aspects of health. The first two are the observable characteristics of an individual, such as his or her appearance. The third is the underlying philosophy or meaning of health. Both include physical, social, and psychological dimensions. In this definition, health is a state of well-being in which a person is not ill and is in a state of activity. The third aspect focuses on the individual’s ability to take preventive action and seek treatment, or to be in an optimal state of health.
The concept of health is often defined in different ways. For example, the World Health Organization defines health as a resource that benefits society. Health is a means to lead a meaningful life, and healthful lifestyle is essential to living it fully. Health can also be defined by researchers, such as the Lancet, as the ability to adapt to new threats and infirmities. Both definitions emphasize the interrelated nature of health. For this reason, defining health is critical.
The definition of “health” is subjective, and the definition must accommodate differences in the environment and individual characteristics. For example, an individual with a weakened immune system may experience heart attacks while shovelling mud in a mountainous region. A sea level dweller may experience shortness of breath and anemia when living in a mountainous area. This means that a nation-wide definition of good health must allow for this variability in the environment.
In the US, the definition of “health” is quite narrow. Health refers to the absence of disease, but the term is also broadly applied to illnesses. Health can be defined as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. As the population ages, the definition of health continues to shift, resulting in an ever-larger dissonance between the definition of health and the reality of aging.
While most Western societies do not guarantee the general population with health insurance, tribal societies do offer health care. These services are available to those who have sufficient money or self-insured. Some nations have incorporated these principles into their constitutions, and their citizens are legally obligated to make provisions for the determinants of health. Whether these provisions are universal or not, the right to health is a fundamental right that all citizens share. A nation should ensure access to health care for everyone, regardless of their economic or racial background.
Achieving health equity requires a change in values. Health is influenced by our social and economic conditions. We have the opportunity to influence our own health if we change our values. The health of a community is highly correlated with the health of its residents. Healthy people 2020 promotes health equity in every community and region. And to achieve health equity, a community must work together to improve its quality of life. In this way, everyone benefits.