Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of sickness and infirmity”. A number of definitions have also been used over the years for various purposes. Some doctors use the definition of health as it relates to a person’s physical condition, while others consider emotional well being to be a much more important aspect of the definition. One who considers health to be subjective maintains that the definition should be flexible enough to meet the needs and lifestyle of everyone.
The goals of well-being are many, and they relate to everything from good health to optimal weight, to reducing the risk factors for a wide range of diseases and disorders. Good health and wellness encompass a person’s physical health, as well as his or her mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Healthy diet and exercise, healthy sleep, and a good routine of stress management to help a person to maintain a high level of well-being. These things do not necessarily have to be physical in nature, but can include activities such as yoga or meditation. For those who take a more holistic approach, wellness also encompasses the proper nutrition and a reduction in the intake of alcohol and other harmful substances. There is a great deal of research that supports the fact that a balanced and nutritious diet and exercise can lower the risk factors for many types of disease, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
In recent years, the field of public health and wellness has begun to focus on the ways that different cultures and communities can work together to promote health. Community health programs have sprung up all over the world as a result of this focus. The most successful community health care program was initiated in the city of Los Angeles in the early 1990s. This program was created in order to address a number of health disparities that existed in the area. Through this effort, the number of people suffering from diabetes and other health problems declined significantly. It has also led to increased physical activity, better eating habits, and improved overall well-being among those who live in the area.