Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being in which infirmity and disease are completely absent. The word “health” is derived from the Greek word “hapy” (meaning good) and refers to the condition of being wholesome, clean, and well adjusted with respect to health. The pursuit of health encompasses a variety of practices and attitudes that produce and maintain good health. These practices and attitudes include education about health, maintenance of good health, and treatment of disease, emphasizing prevention and controlling diseases as well as their consequences.
The first element of this three-fold definition is education, the ability to know and learn about diseases, their causes and effects, and how to deal with them. Second, health would also require an understanding of the concepts, techniques and procedures of preventive health care, which would in turn require a broad knowledge on the subject of medicine and its institutions. Third, it requires personal values, attitudes, and customs to be able to accept and appreciate a healthy life. A person who has these three elements in him can call himself or herself a healthy person.
The second element of this definition is the recognition of the importance of preventive measures. Prevention is viewed as the gradual elimination of chances of acquiring diseases by adopting healthy lifestyle practices and attitudes. Since some forms of diseases are progressive, a focus on prevention may not always be possible, especially with very old age. However, the availability of effective and efficient medical services and the community’s response to such services make the task of controlling and eliminating the disease as a possibility for older persons.
The third element of the definition emphasizes the importance of maintaining well-being. Healthy functioning implies complete physical well-being and total psychological well-being. Mental well-being includes disposition, thought processes, affective states, motivation and the ability to adapt to environmental demands. Psychological well-being influences physiological processes such as breathing and heartbeat; it also influences cognitive processes such as memory, attention, and concentration. When persons attain complete physical well-being, they have greater capacities to deal with demands of daily life and face more challenges with less anxiety.
This definition emphasizes the interdependence of health and total freedom from illness and disease. This freedom gives individuals the power to choose how they will live their lives. This definition emphasizes the importance of defining conditions for the achievement of good health. Good health requires taking into account the causes of illness and diseases so that a decision to avoid contracting a certain form of ailment is motivated. Some of the causes of diseases have been known since ancient times and are still being studied today. The definition of good health does not exclude current knowledge and research in this area.
This definition of health would most likely vary from person to person depending on factors such as culture, age, social status, gender, and other aspects of life. The ultimate goal of all health promotion efforts is to achieve well-being through the maintenance of a healthy body, mind, and spirit. There is no denying that achieving well-being should be one of the primary goals of individuals, organizations, and communities.