According to the World Health Organization, “health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, excluding disease and infirmity.” While different definitions of health are used, all share the same essential elements:
The health sector cannot create a healthier society by itself. Changing health-related values requires collaboration with other sectors and with the people living in communities. Values are shaped throughout life, from family to schools to media to laws. Health-related values are often the result of disparities. Changing values to promote health is not an easy task, however, and requires the involvement of many stakeholders. To make this happen, a series of health-related measures must be put into place in communities.
The definition of health itself can have a large impact on how we view the concept. The simplest definition of health is the absence of disease. This means that any efforts to promote health should focus on eradicating diseases and decreasing the number of those who suffer from them. Increasingly, however, people are living longer than ever, and the definition of health has changed to reflect this. For example, exercise is known to improve one’s capacity to deal with stressful situations, and the ability to function.
Many factors determine health, including exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle helps a person perform daily tasks and maintain a balanced mental and physical state. Taking care of your diet and exercising regularly can greatly improve your health. Healthy people also have a strong sense of self and social connections. This makes them more likely to be happy and productive in their daily lives. However, an unhealthy lifestyle may also affect the daily tasks and social activities of a person.
A healthy definition of health varies widely, and it is difficult to establish a universally accepted standard for health. For example, a person who lives at sea level may experience heart attacks when shoveling snow in the mountains. Another individual who lives in a sea-level community may suffer anemia and shortness of breath while living in the mountains. In either case, health must be defined in context to be truly meaningful. There are many other factors that define what constitutes good health.
Environmental factors are closely linked to health. These factors may be risk factors for disease or protective for health. People with better education and access to resources are more likely to enjoy better health. People with lower incomes may experience less health. For example, living in a community that lacks parks, sports facilities, and natural areas are more likely to have higher rates of obesity and poor overall health. Therefore, the environment has a large effect on the health of a population.
The way in which people access health information is crucial to the delivery of quality care. Access to information affects consumer choice and the incentives of medical professionals. However, the US healthcare system is not particularly open, and new legislation may change this. The balance between the need for openness and privacy for patients is often in tension. There is a perceived tension between the need for information and the dangers of exposing data for commercial gain. But the importance of information cannot be overstated.