Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Achieving a standard of health that provides the maximum possible enjoyment of life is an inalienable right of every individual, without distinction of any kind. The enjoyment of this right is dependent on the full cooperation of individuals and States, both individually and collectively.
It can be difficult to define because unlike disease, which is recognizable and tangible, and rather easily defined, health is more nebulous. In fact, it has been suggested that there have been more definitions of health than diseases (Jones et al, 1992).
Many people have different ideas about what it means to be healthy and they can influence the way we think and feel about our own health. These opinions can also shape how we behave in our day-to-day lives and how we care for our own health. For example, if we have an allergy to a particular food or chemical, this will influence how we interact with that food or chemical and can cause us to feel different compared to someone who is not allergic.
A key aspect of this is how we think about health and how we value it. If we place a high value on health, then it is likely that we will take active steps to ensure our own health and that of the people around us. This could be through ensuring that we have the correct vaccinations and taking medication when necessary. It may even involve putting a high value on education and ensuring that children are able to gain the best knowledge and qualifications in order to achieve a good level of health.
This is important because the more we understand our own health and the health of others, the better decisions we can make about our lives. There are many factors that affect our health, including genetics, environment and behaviours. These are often referred to as the ‘health determinants’. These can be both positive and negative, i.e. they can lead to better or worse health, but are usually interconnected and impact on each other.
When writing an article about health, it is important to use language that is easy for the reader to understand. This is especially the case with medical articles as it can be quite jargon heavy. This can not only be confusing for the reader but it can also turn them off reading the article altogether.