The Definition of Health and Wellbeing


Health is the state of physical mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It includes a sense of peace of mind, good relationships with others and a feeling of being at home in one’s community. Health is a core human right. In order to realize it, everyone needs access to essential healthcare services and the ability to enjoy life with a minimum of disease, disability, misfortune, fear and suffering.

The modern understanding of health became official when the World Health Organization (WHO) enshrined the concept in its constitution in 1948, and it is now known as the WHO definition of health – “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not a mere absence of disease or infirmity.”

Since that time, there have been advances in medicine, technology and knowledge. However, health and wellbeing remain fragile. People are vulnerable to disease, illness and injury, with increasing frequency and intensity. The causes of this are complex and interrelated.

In this context it is vital to rethink how we define health. As we move forward in an era of new understandings of diseases at the molecular level, it becomes clear that a conception of health which is limited to the absence of pathology is not going to be enough to promote healthy lives and sustainable societies.

Currently, there is much debate on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and how to achieve it. It is becoming increasingly important to understand that there are many factors which influence a person’s level of health and wellbeing, including their behaviours, choices and environment. These are known as determinants of health and they can be either risk or protective factors.

Some determinants of health are within people’s control, such as their diet, level of exercise and how much sleep they get. In addition, they can take steps to reduce unhealthful activities and situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Other determinants are outside their control, such as genetic disorders.

Regardless of what defines a healthy lifestyle, the key to staying healthy is to be proactive and develop habits which can increase your energy and improve your overall quality of life. To help you do this, we have created a set of health checklists that cover all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, from what you eat to how much exercise you get. Click on the images below to learn more about these health-related habits, or use the download buttons to save the checklists for later. Then commit to making them a part of your daily routine. This will help to decrease your stress, lower your risk of disease and increase your energy levels so you can lead a happier, healthier life.