Changing the Definition of Health
While the absence of disease is a sign of good health, this definition excludes many people with chronic conditions. Older adults need to have an understanding of how to manage illnesses and diseases, as well as how to prevent and treat them. Changing the definition of “health” is a necessary step in advancing the cause of global health. A definition of health that is appropriate for a country’s aging population must allow for this discordance.
The World Health Organization defines health as complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Promoting health means encouraging activities that are conducive to a healthy life, while avoiding and reducing risk factors. A high value on one’s health will motivate people to take preventive action to maintain it. The goal is to promote health in all people, regardless of age or socioeconomic status. However, it is not enough to focus on prevention and treatment alone.
The WHO defines health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being. The term refers to the ability of an individual to achieve and maintain homeostasis and recover from adversity. An individual’s emotional and social health is also considered a vital component of health. The WorldHealth Organization considers this definition to be too broad, but it is a useful starting point for promoting the best possible health.