The definition of health depends on the environment. A sea-level dweller can suffer a heart attack while shovelling snow in the mountains. In a high-altitude environment, a sea-level dweller may suffer shortness of breath and anemia. A good definition must be flexible enough to account for such changes in the environment. A broader definition of health is needed in order to address the complex issues that affect human health. Listed below are some key concepts related to health and well-being.
The term “health” means “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” Although the World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, the definitions of health vary widely. In the United States, 617 million people over 65 are considered to be “healthy.”
People inherit a variety of genes from their parents. In some cases, this combination of genes leads to less-than-optimal health. Others inherit genes from their parents that make them more susceptible to specific diseases. In addition to genetics, environmental factors play an important role in health. In individuals with an increased risk of developing a certain disease, an environmental trigger can result in the onset of illness. Moreover, pollution levels and germs in an area affect the overall health of a person.
Health is influenced by many social factors, and not everyone has the same opportunity to achieve it. Inequality of access to nutritious foods, education, and economic conditions are powerful factors that determine one’s health. Social determinants of health affect the quality of life of a person and community and contribute to wide disparities in health. Poor nutrition raises the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It also contributes to health disparities. This is why MDPH has focused on identifying and addressing social determinants of health.
Physical health and mental health are inseparably linked. Evidence of a strong relationship between the two has accumulated in recent decades, redefining the traditionally thought of mind-body duality. The mechanisms that enable this relationship to occur are biological, behavioural, and social. These factors influence one another and affect our ability to cope with stressful life circumstances. Nonetheless, the relationship between physical and mental health is bi-directional. As such, it is vital to understand the role that each of these factors play in determining health and well-being.
Many cultures around the world recognize that health is a fundamental human right. According to the World Health Organization constitution, everyone has the right to enjoy the highest possible standard of health without regard to race, religion, or political belief. Some nation states have adopted the right to health in their constitution and are legally bound to provide affordable health care for all citizens. They are also required to ensure that the determinants of health are adequately provided. They may include a national health insurance program, compulsory health insurance, and socially-funded programs.
Mental health and wellbeing are often defined in different ways. The definition of mental illness, for example, emphasizes adaptation and recovery, while a holistic view of health focuses on a person’s quality of life. The two are often considered separate, but they may be linked. Individuals with mental illness may have high mental health and low mental health, but if their disorder is treated properly and their symptoms are controlled, their overall wellbeing will be high.