The Different Definitions of Health

Generally, a state of health refers to a state of complete well-being, the absence of disease and infirmity. However, different definitions of health have been used for different purposes throughout history. In the World Health Organization, health is defined as a state of complete well-being, free from illness or infirmity. As a result, there are many competing definitions of health. This article aims to provide an overview of the differences in these definitions and how they have been applied over time.


The World Health Organization defines health as complete physical, social, and mental well-being. Increasing our physical and mental capabilities can promote health. By promoting healthful activities and reducing unhealthy situations, we can promote and maintain our wellbeing. Likewise, our social and emotional well-being and our ability to build and maintain relationships are also important aspects of health. Without these, we may be less likely to take preventive action or seek treatment, and we may face chronic illnesses or disabilities.

The medical definition of health has long been criticized as overly narrow. The biopsychosocial definition identifies the interplay between psychological, social, and physical components of health and disease. In addition, the World Health Organization describes “health” as “complete well-being.” Some argue that this definition is far too ambitious. Yet, in the context of global health issues, this is a much more accurate description of what constitutes healthy living. It is not an exaggeration to say that we need to focus on physical and mental fitness and health.