Guidelines for Determining the Definition of Health


The definition of health today excludes many people with chronic diseases. It also excludes an entire segment of the life span. Increasing numbers of people over 65 (6.5 million in the U.S. and 617 million worldwide) is causing a dissonance between the ideal of health and the reality of living a long and healthy life. The definition of health has to take into account this fact, as well as individual needs, priorities, and health profiles.

In addition, the definition of health can change according to the environment in which the individual lives. People who live at sea level may develop shortness of breath and anemia when living in mountains. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the environment of a person to determine their state of health. If the environment changes significantly, the definition of health should be changed accordingly. However, some people still define health as having a physical condition that allows them to function well and be free from mental disorders.

The WHO has led the health promotion movement in the 1980s. The organization has emphasized the importance of a dynamic conception of health and the concept of resiliency, which includes the ability to fulfill needs and satisfy aspirations. Health has also become a way of life and a means to contribute to society. It is essential for health professionals to consider these three aspects of health in order to create a comprehensive, effective definition of health. This document provides guidelines for measuring health and its impact.