Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition of “complete physical, mental and emotional well-being” and not just the absence of sickness and disease. Different definitions have also been applied for various purposes over the years. Some people define health in terms of total well-being. This means that a person would be mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially healthy if they were healthy all around. However, people who want to gain attention and recognition often prefer the definition provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
According to this definition, “well-being is the capacity to experience pleasure in active participation, an enhanced sense of well-being, and functional capacity with limitation.” The ability to get up, to walk, to dance, and to take part in recreational activities is considered a form of well-being. The capacity to find meaning and joy in daily life and in the activities we do is considered healthy. These life activities contribute to personal well-being. Illness and disability, on the other hand, conditions that interfere with the ability to do these things.
In a healthy society, physical and mental wellness is considered to be a primary endeavor. Activities such as fitness, meditation, yoga, cooking, taking care of the body, and maintaining a good diet contribute to personal health. These activities improve the self-image, promote good health, and reduce the risks of various kinds of diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. These activities also contribute to well being in the social area, by keeping the community healthy and connected.
In order to maintain or improve our health status, it is important to make wise health choices. One way to do this is through dietary choices. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, moderate in meats, and rich in whole grains provide all of the nutrients that promote health and can alleviate many common illnesses. By making healthy lifestyle choices, we can turn what may be an illness into a milestone in our history.
Managing stress has also proven to play an important role in overall health and mental wellness. Low levels of stress have been associated with a number of positive health outcomes, including lower blood pressure and reduced levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body. There is growing evidence that the link between stress and physical illness is actually causal, not descriptive. Stress results in increased blood pressure and decreases the production of the body’s natural immune system. This, in turn, contributes to inflammation, which has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood cholesterol levels, and psychological disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
To better understand human health and the ways in which it can be affected, it is important to be familiar with the many dimensions of health science. The human body is comprised of the physical structure that we inhabit, the social and environmental variables that we face, and the emotions that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. By studying these dimensions of health science, we can begin to understand and predict the likelihoods of different types of diseases and health complications. Understanding the multiple roles of each of these components can help us prevent or anticipate the development of specific diseases and health risks, as well as the optimal functioning of each.