Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition in which “the body’s physiological processes are efficient and balanced leading to the prevention or delay of disease.” A wide variety of other definitions have also been applied to health: being healthy is to live an active life; having good health is having favorable attributes; health is maintaining a healthy relationship with others; and having optimal health is having a sense of security and freedom from major health risks. Many people still grapple with the concept of health. For instance, a poll conducted in 2021 found that only 41 percent of Americans feel that they are in good health. The findings of this poll were part of a larger research project to determine what Americans actually think about their health and what defines it as well.
In addition to defining health, many individuals and health care providers use lists of characteristics to determine a person’s level of health. For instance, one common definition for good health is “the absence of serious health risk.” In this definition, minor health issues such as being overweight or physically inactive may be included on the list of health issues but are not necessarily indicative of a lack of health.
People need to understand what health services are for and how they affect an individual’s life. Some people may not be aware that they are ill, even when they are in pain, or that they are at risk of developing heart disease, while other people may be quite aware of the risks of smoking or drinking, but are not at all concerned with the frequency or amount of these behaviors. It’s important to get an individual’s health services so that the appropriate tests and treatment can be carried out. These include cholesterol tests, blood pressure checks, weight loss programs, and other in depth screening processes. Health services can be provided by primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, nursing homes, and community health clinics.