The founding constitution of the WHO defines health as “a state of complete well-being without disease or disability.” The constitution was adopted in 1946 and was intended to provide a new and transformative vision of health, moving beyond the traditional negative view of health based on the absence of pathology. It also highlights the significance of the human genome in determining health and disease. Today, it is still relevant and largely accepted as the standard definition of health. But it also contains some limitations.
First, there are three main types of health. Generally, health is defined as the absence of disease or disability, and it can also be described as a state of equilibrium within an individual and in their social and physical environments. The third kind of health is defined as ‘perfect health,’ i.e., being able to cope with everyday demands and being free of chronic illness. This definition of health is counterproductive, as it neglects the many people who do not enjoy perfect health. Furthermore, it does not take into account the prevalence of disabilities and chronic illnesses and contributes to the overmedicalization of society.
Lastly, the definition of good health depends on the type of environment an individual lives in. For example, a sea-level dweller might suffer from heart attacks if he is shoveling rocks, while a mountain dweller might suffer from shortness of breath and anemia when climbing mountains. Despite all this, there are some individuals who will escape both definitions. This is why the concept of good health needs to be flexible. If you’re not sure what is good health, try to take the Britannica Quiz Human Health for some inspiration.
Moreover, the expansion of the concept of health to include disease management is not an excuse for a failing health care system. The primary goal of health is to prevent and manage disease, while at the same time addressing suffering through evidence-based practices. In particular, the elderly are especially vulnerable. Many of them face abuse, neglect, poverty, and social marginalization. Fortunately, Betty has access to care, a stable income, and a supportive network of family and friends.
The role of the health sector in changing values cannot be done by itself. Values are shaped throughout our lives, from our parents and friends through our schools, media, and laws. This means that changing our values is vital to promoting health. All stakeholders must be involved in this process. If we are to change the culture around health, we must first understand what causes and perpetuates suffering. Only then can we truly change our attitudes and behaviors. However, this may seem easier said than done, but it’s a long-term strategy.
Socioeconomic status affects health, as it influences our daily lives. Individuals with low SES are more likely to experience problems such as stress, marital disruption, and unemployment. Furthermore, low SES also has lower access to healthcare. In countries with universal health care, people with lower SES enjoy longer life. These cultural differences may also have a profound impact on health. But, we should not forget that our social, economic, and physical environments have a lot to do with our health.