Canguilhem’s definition of health includes both the inanimate and animate environment. The resulting definition encompasses all aspects of life, including the physical, mental, and social. In essence, he is attempting to put the patient in a position of self-determining authority. By this definition, health is a way of life and not a commodity to be acquired. However, this definition can be a bit confusing for non-physicians.
What is health? Health is the absence of disease. However, a person’s health is declared to be good only when the medical profession deems them to be healthy. Moreover, medical progress can also lead to the discovery of new diseases. As a result, a person’s subjective feelings about their own health have little relevance in this paradigm. Rather, their observations of behavior and symptoms should be evaluated against medical criteria. This way, people’s health status will not be affected by their own perception of their own health.
The World Health Organisation defines health as complete physical, psychological, and social wellbeing. This definition of health is consistent with the biopsychosocial model of health, which focuses on the interactions between physiological, social, and environmental factors. In the long run, the view of health can be counterproductive and lead to over-medicalisation of society. It also fails to account for the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise. If health is achieved through a holistic approach, it can be a catalyst for promoting wellbeing.