Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition of full physical, mental and emotional well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. Various definitions have been employed over the years for various purposes. The current definition, from the WHO is “excess of all known diseases and the absence of preventable diseases with complications.”
This is a general statement and there can be many exceptions to the general statement. Some would argue that good overall health is having fewer illnesses or that there are not enough deaths from strokes, heart attacks, or diabetes. Perhaps if there were more deaths from these types of illnesses, the number of people alive would increase, but the reality is that fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes means that we have good overall health. It would be a bit of an exaggeration to call it good, but certainly better than bad.
The other broad topic in the area of public health is mental health. This could include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression. Mental health is important because when we are ill mentally we are ill physically as well. We could live longer, but we could also live with much more chronic disease. Mental health professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and school psychologists.
In terms of preventing disease, another main article is in keeping the under-weight population healthy. This means that if more people are exercising, eating properly, and getting routine screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, and obesity, we can see that the number of preventable deaths from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes would decrease. Another key point is that there needs to be a focus on family-based care in order to provide prevention programs. It is possible that if programs for family-based care were improved, we could see less family and more preventive health care, overall health, and higher quality of life.
The third area is to deal with the problems that people have with their diet and lifestyle. These include nutrition issues, weight loss and management, alcohol consumption and related problems, tobacco use and addiction, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and many other dietary concerns. While many of these dietary concerns are not major health problems in themselves, they do contribute to causing other types of diseases such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. These other diseases often lead to more serious public health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, and some types of cancer. Eliminating or reducing the cause of many of these types of diseases could have a huge impact on the quality of life for everyone.
One of the keys to a successful and productive life is having a good balance of good luck and bad luck. Good health should be seen as a natural extension of having a positive outlook in life. It’s important to make sure that the decisions we make that affect our physical health are those decisions that we would make anyway, even if they do bring about negative outcomes. This means that we should try to focus on trying to eliminate or at least reduce the risk of any disease rather than trying to avoid them and hope that they never happen.