The modern definition of health omits people who suffer from chronic disease. While 6.5 million Americans and 617 million people around the world are over 65, this fact is largely irrelevant to the definition of health. Health is defined as a state of wellness, including a person’s ability to realize aspirations, satisfy needs, and change the environment. In the modern paradigm of health, people are considered healthy if their physical, mental, and social characteristics are within the accepted limits of a standard medical definition.
The World Health Organization’s constitution defines health as “complete physical, mental, and social well-being”. The writers of the charter knew that the concept of health was often mistaken as an object dependent on the presence of disease. For this reason, the constitution emphasizes the importance of health for the broader society. Health is a vital aspect of life, and its preservation is crucial to the advancement of societies. Increasingly, we’re relying on scientific research to help us improve our health.
Our environment plays a huge role in our overall health. The built environment, natural environments, and social circumstances influence our physical and mental states. Access to clean water, clean air, and adequate housing are all important components of good health. Likewise, personal hygiene is vital, including brushing teeth and maintaining a clean body. Lastly, mental health encompasses the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves. Whether these feelings are positive or negative, we must learn to cope with these emotions and behaviors to ensure the best possible health.