Lay Perspective on Health


There are various definitions of health. The first one emphasizes the absence of disease or infirmity. The second one refers to the ability to deal with the day-to-day demands. The third definition refers to health as a state of balance, in which an individual’s physical, mental, and social systems are in equilibrium. A person may be healthy but may be afflicted with certain conditions or be suffering from a disease.

The World Health Organization defines health as complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Promoting health is about adopting a healthy lifestyle and avoiding unhealthy activities and situations. While some factors influence a person’s health, others are due to structural causes. These changes require a reevaluation of the current concept of health. However, a fundamental change in the definition of what constitutes good health may be necessary to ensure that the human population is in better shape for the future.

A lay perspective on health includes three major characteristics. They are wholeness, pragmatism, and individualism. A holistic view of health emphasizes the person’s ability to function within the family and live according to personal values. Pragmatism focuses on the individual’s need to be healthy and live according to personal values. The last is a universal concept. The underlying principles of both approaches are important in the development of public health.