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Defining Health

What is Health?

As defined by World Health Organization (WHO), it is a “State of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Health is a dynamic condition
resulting from a body’s constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium called homeostasis.

What is Wellness?

According to the Mickinley Health Center, University of Illinois, wellness “is a state of optimal well-being that is oriented toward maximizing an individual’s potential. This is a life-long process of moving towards enhancing your physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental well-being.”

The University of East Carolina defines wellness as “the integration of mind, body and spirit. Optimal wellness allows us to achieve our goals and find meaning and purpose in our lives. Wellness combines seven dimensions of well-being into a quality way of living. Overall, wellness is the ability to live life to the fullest and to maximize personal potential in a variety of ways. Wellness involves continually learning and making changes to enhance your state of wellness. When we balance the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational, spiritual, and environmental aspects of life, we achieve true wellness.”

Mental Health
Mental health refers to people’s cognitive and emotional well-being. A person who enjoys good mental health does not have a mental disorder. According to WHO, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

Chemical Health – good chemical health means that the chemicals in the person’s body are correct, that tissues contain the right balance of nutrients, etc., and there are no toxic chemicals.

We may inhale or swallow natural and synthetic chemicals; they can also get into our body through skin. In most cases, the body can break these chemicals down or excrete them, so that there is no risk of toxic overload.

Some chemicals can harm or destroy cells and tissues, while others may affect genetic material directly, which can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Structural health – this refers to sound bones, muscles, organs etc. That the structures in the body are performing the functions they were made for properly. Structural health is associated with a person’s height/weight ratio, their BMI (body mass index), their resting pulse rate (heart rate), and recovery time after doing exercise.

Determinants of health

The health of individual people and their communities are affected by a wide range of contributory factors. People’s good or bad health is determined by their environment and situations – what is happening and what has happened to them, says WHO. WHO says that the following factors probably have a bigger impact on our health than access and use of health care services:

  • Where we live
  • The state of our environment
  • Genetics
  • Our income
  • Our education level
  • Our relationship with family and society
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