What is health?

January 14, 2015

This definition has not been amended since 1948. It continues to be the most enduring because it defines health in a broader sense. However, the translation of this definition also poses some challenges due the altruistic goal of "completeness" within each of the components of well-being. More recently the Meikirch Model proposed to define health as:

“...the dynamic state of well-being characterized by a physical, mental and social
potential, which satisfies the demands of a life commensurate with age, culture, and personal responsibility. If the potential is insufficient to satisfy these demands the state is disease.”

I also like this definition because wellness is an active process. It involves being aware of our actions and surroundings, and making conscious choices towards a mentally and physically healthy and fulfilling life. 
But on a personal level, and even more importantly, is to consider what health means to each one of us individually. A good way to start is by answering the following questions:
- Do you consider yourself a healthy person?
- What words or images come to mind when you think about a healthy person?
- What factors did you take into account when answering the previous question?
- What factors influence your current health status, according to you definition of a healthy person?

The answers of these questions can help us determine the changes we need to make, the challenges we need to overcome to be healthier, and might make us reconsider some of our beliefs. 

Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948
Bircher, Johannes & Shyama Kuruvilla (2014): "Defining health by addressing individual, social, and environmental determinants: New opportunities for health care and public health." Journal of Public Health Policy, 2014 Aug; 35 (3): 363-386

Text added to picture taken from pixabay

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