Determinants of Health


Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the absence of disease. In their own definition, health includes physical, mental, and social well-being. These are factors that can be improved or affected by promoting healthful activities or minimizing exposure to harmful situations. Some of these determinants are influenced by structural factors, while others are influenced by individual choices. The following are some of the most important determinants of human wellbeing.

Defining health in a broad sense is a difficult undertaking. Historically, the term has been used to define the absence of disease. However, today, the WHO has suggested that this definition no longer serves its purpose. Instead, the term health should focus on a person’s capacity to cope with stress, learn new skills, and maintain healthy relationships. This is because people often place a high value on their own health, as well as that of their families and friends.

Public health is a key resource for a healthy life. It refers to a person’s physical and social capacities. Generally speaking, health is a state of well-being and the ability to adapt to the environment. It is not a fixed entity and is different for each person. Its importance is based on the individual’s functional needs, and the role of the doctor is to assist the individual to adapt to the conditions.

The concept of ‘complete health’ is counterproductive and unrealistic. Few people will achieve this state of wellness all of the time. A complete health view of health fails to account for chronic illnesses and disabilities. It leads to an overmedicalisation of society. Furthermore, it ignores the social determinants of health. Hence, a holistic and balanced view of health is the most appropriate way to improve our quality of life. This approach focuses on social and emotional resources.

The World Health Organisation’s constitution defines health as “a state of complete physical and mental well-being”. It recognizes that the current definition of health is too narrow and is dependent on the existence of disease. As a result, it is not possible to define good health in terms of health alone. Rather, health is the ability to adapt to conditions and to live life to the fullest. This means that we must consider the social determinants of our health and make the necessary changes in order to improve the condition of our lives.

A ‘complete health’ view of health is an unrealistically idealized concept of health. Few people are at a 100% level of wellness all the time. This concept of ‘complete-health’ is also counterproductive as it fails to take into account the physical resources of an individual. In fact, most people will not be able to achieve this state of total wellbeing in their lifetime. But they can have a good quality of life. This is where the definition of health comes in.