The Definition of Health

In the Canadian Charter of Human Rights, health is defined as “a resource to lead a healthy life.” The definition of health includes the inanimate and animate environments. It addresses the physical, mental, social, and emotional aspects of life. Furthermore, health is an opportunity to participate in society, not a deprivation. Moreover, health refers to the state of being well. The definition of health varies greatly, but there are some common elements.


First, we must define a concept of health. According to the World Health Organization, health refers to physical, mental, and social resources. The definition of health encompasses our capacities to achieve homeostasis and recover from adverse events. This means that physical health includes our abilities to cope with stress, learn new skills, and maintain relationships. This definition is based on the ‘complete health’ definition, which is unrealistic and can even be counterproductive.

Second, we must define health as a social resource. A socially empowering public sector is essential to achieving this goal. It must be rooted in the principle of justice, participation, and collaboration, which are the foundations of public health. Further, the right to health should be a human right. People must be able to enjoy good health without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, economic status, or political beliefs. Finally, we must define health in terms of what we do with our lives, the relationships we have, and the social determinants of our well-being.