Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is an “uneven condition of the body, regarded as normal though not perfectly fit or healthful” with complete physical, emotional and social well being. Various definitions have been applied to health throughout the history of medical studies. However, health is a term open to interpretation by many professionals including the person who is thought to be at risk of developing a particular ailment. A hale and hearty health should be equated with well-balanced diet and active lifestyle with regular exercise.
When it comes to understanding the meaning of health one must consider that disease is more than just an unpleasant physical condition. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, disease can be “any form of abnormality, illness, or condition that results in pain, disfigurement, or bodily agony”. In other words, disease can be described as a negative state of affairs. The definition of health therefore, is something positive that is equated to well-balanced life with less pain and discomfort.
One cannot discount the impact of drug use on the state of health. In fact, drug use and abuse has now become a major health problem in the United States. Over usage of prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin, Adderall and Vicodin, has resulted in a significant increase in unintentional deaths from prescription drug overdose. Also alarming is the number of people who are turning to illegal drug use such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines to alleviate pain and suffering. These drugs are highly addictive and when used ormisused improperly, have serious and life threatening consequences.
There are several public health determinants of health that can be considered relevant in assessing the health status of an individual. These public health determinants are sociological, biological and environmental and they interact with one another to determine health. These public health determinants include age, sex, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, life style preferences, level of education, neighborhood or community income, ethnic background, health insurance coverage and medical history.
Societal determinants of health include population size, income and social class. Income refers to the value of one’s life and its products. Life style preferences refer to ones’ health behavior. The medical environment refers to the place or setting in which medical care, therapy and medications are administered. Social environment refers to ones’ social support and interaction with other individuals.
A healthy diet is one of the most important determinants of good health. A healthy diet should include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, low fat dairy products and lean meats. An effective exercise program helps to maintain a good health. These are only some of the factors that influence an individual’s overall health.