The World Health Organization’s Definition of Health

In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as the absence of disease and incapacity to cause harm. However, these definitions are not fit for purpose in today’s world. The WHO now proposes that the definition of health be broadened to include physical and mental capacities, including the ability to cope with stress, develop skills, and adapt to changing environments. Although the WHO’s new definition remains somewhat vague, it offers a more comprehensive approach to the concept of good well-being.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) drafted a constitution in 1948 that defines health as “complete physical and mental well-being”. This document recognizes the tendency to view health in terms of disease, but it also emphasizes the value of social and personal resources as vital to health. By defining health as complete well-being, the WHO has a clearer definition of what health is. And while a common definition may be desirable for the sake of clear communication and promoting a healthy environment, this definition may be a little more complicated than it sounds.

The World Health Organisation has three main types of health definitions. In one, health is defined as a condition of being free from disease, another is a state of being able to meet daily demands. The third type is the biopsychosocial model, which incorporates the psychological, social, and environmental components of disease. In all of these cases, health is a state of full well-being, and not just the absence of disease. There are many more types of definitions, and each has its place.