The term ‘complete health’ has many meanings. It embodies the ideal of a person who is free of disease, pain, or disability. However, this concept is also counterproductive. It fails to recognize the many people who have chronic diseases, or disabilities, and contributes to the overmedicalization of society. According to WHO, “Health is complete physical, mental, and social well-being.”
Historically, health has been defined as the absence of disease or other illness, but nowadays it is also a state of balance in one’s physical, mental, and social life. Health is the state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being and depends on various determinants and interventions. In today’s world, health is often defined as the absence of disease or disability and the ability to cope with the daily demands that come with life.
The World Health Organization’s constitution entered into force on April 7, 1948. The organization’s definition of health includes the ability to fulfill one’s needs and to realize aspirations. The World Health Organization, like other groups and organizations, has long recognized the importance of health for a person’s participation in society. In the 1980s, the WHO took a leadership role in the health promotion movement. In addition to promoting a dynamic conception of health, the organization also introduced a concept of resiliency. In 1984, WHO redefined health as the capacity to satisfy needs and fulfill aspirations.
One of the central concepts in medical education is the notion that health is best treated at a system level, rather than at an individual level. This concept is based on the principle that the brain anticipates needs and mobilizes the resources necessary to meet those needs. The brain plays a crucial role in allostasis. However, this definition is based on the outdated concept of health. And if the underlying assumptions are right, the medical profession may indeed become tyrannical.
The two aspects of human health are intimately linked. Chronic illness can hamper daily tasks and cause stress, depression, and even mobility problems. In addition, mental illness can affect weight and overall function, thus complicating the definition of health. Fortunately, there are several ways to assess health, and each is important to our well-being. The key is to achieve a balance between these two dimensions. The underlying principles of health are simple: balance is key. Healthy living requires a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
People’s environment also has an impact on their health. Physical environment, social environment, and genetic makeup all contribute to an individual’s health. For example, poor access to health care is related to poverty. For example, poor access to supermarkets that offer healthy foods increases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition to these, cultural issues such as poverty and racism play a role in health. People with higher socioeconomic status are more likely to be healthy.
Achieving health equity requires change at the level of values. Without equitable access to and influence over health conditions, the health of communities and nation cannot be achieved. This is where civic muscle plays an important role. More than ever, health equity requires community-driven action. The Healthy People campaign and the corresponding National Objectives are essential. So, what should be the next step? And how do we achieve health equity? You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find!