The Definition of Health and Its Measurement


The definition of health depends on the individual. It may be described in terms of function or likelihood of imminent disease. It can also be defined by scales of value. A person who places high value on health will be more likely to seek treatment and preventive measures for ill health. It may be a simple definition, but it does not capture the nuances of a complex problem. This article will briefly discuss a few important aspects of health and its measurement.

Managing multiple diseases is the norm for aging Americans. Almost two-thirds of adults 65 and older report managing at least two chronic diseases. In the mid-century, polio and diphtheria were rampant, and infant mortality was a major cause of low life expectancies. Today, chronic diseases have transformed as well, with heart disease, cancer, and stroke being the leading causes of death. As of 2013, these three causes of death accounted for almost two-thirds of all deaths worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle and contribute to the general well-being of society. By living a healthy lifestyle, a person can lead a meaningful life. In a recent study in The Lancet, researchers identified health as the capacity to adapt to new conditions, threats, and infirmities. These definitions are based on modern science progress in disease awareness and prevention. These definitions provide the basis for a holistic approach to health.