What Makes You Healthy?

What makes you healthy? This question elicits a range of answers from Canadians. While some attribute good health to luck and family history, many attribute it to their personal habits and lifestyle. Physical health consists of the ability to recover from adverse events and maintain homeostasis. Mental health refers to the ability to cope with stress and develop skills and relationships. Unlike disease, this concept of health is less tangible and more difficult to define.


A complete health definition focuses on a person’s ability to maintain good health and avoid acquiring ill health. It also fails to recognize that very few people enjoy complete health at all times. In fact, this concept is counterproductive since it ignores chronic illnesses and disabilities. In addition, this view contributes to over-medicalisation in society. This is why the concept of ‘complete health’ is controversial. Instead, it should focus on preventing disease, promoting good health, and addressing individual and social determinants.

The World Health Organisation defines health as the absence of diseases. This definition would indicate that health is the absence of any disease. Therefore, promoting health would involve efforts to prevent or eliminate all disease and decrease the number of people suffering from it. However, the concept of ‘completeness of health’ is more complex. It focuses on the capacity to function. Exercising regularly increases this capacity. If you want to live a long, healthy life, this definition should be your goal.