How Do We Define Health?
How do we define health? The definitions of health vary from culture to culture, although most of us attribute our well-being to luck or family history. Many of us attribute our overall health to our personal lifestyle, from the amount of exercise we get to stress levels. We often do not realize that the way we live has a direct impact on our overall physical and mental health. Therefore, defining the concept of “health” to meet our individual needs and preferences is important.
In 1948, the World Health Organization adopted a constitution that recognizes health as a basic human right. The constitution of the World Bank and WHO states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental human right, without distinction of race, political belief, or economic status.” Since then, several nation states have endorsed the right to health as part of their constitution. As such, they are legally required to ensure the timely access of their citizens to quality health, as well as adequate provision for the determinants of that health.
The World Health Organization defines health as the state of complete physical and mental well-being. The original WHO definition of health was based on the absence of disease. Today, the WHO constitution calls for shifting the focus of health away from preventing diseases and more toward an individual’s ability to self-manage and adapt to stressful situations. For this reason, the World Bank has adopted the principles of social determinants of a healthy life. These standards are essential to the quality of life of people everywhere.