The term “health” can mean different things to different people. In its most broad sense, health is an inclusive term that encompasses a person’s physical well being, psychological health, and social and emotional health. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is described as “a condition in which the total body of an individual reaches a state of harmony with its parts.” A number of other definitions have also been used over the years for various purposes.
To be able to define health, it helps to take a closer look at what the word means. Simply put, health is a state or condition of being able to handle one’s physical self properly. It is not just a state where all of the body’s systems are functioning properly, but a balance between the system’s systems is achieved. The physiological and psychological factors that affect an individual’s health can contribute to achieving a state of harmony between the systems. Mental health refers to your attitude toward your health. The ability to change your outlook on your health or manage your thoughts and emotions that may influence your health are both critical components of healthy mental health.
The second factor that shapes health outcomes is social determinants. Social determinants include social policies that affect how you live your life. For example, those who are uninsured or under-insured face varying degrees of health outcomes due to the fact that they are not aware of and cannot afford health insurance. Unions and businesses that are protected by prevailing labor laws are also significant social determinants because they affect the conditions of employment in many industries.
When it comes to the topic of health, there are multiple influences on health outcomes. There are sociological factors such as poverty, discrimination, and health information that can affect health. In addition, there are environmental factors such as air pollution, genetics, and nutrition. Educational levels and patterns of mobility can also shape health. All these factors can cumulatively or individually lead to differences in health that are associated with race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status.
In order to address the problem of health disparities, it is important that health information is collected and shared by everyone at all ages and in all environments. Effective policies that target social determinants and environmental factors must be put into place if we are going to address the issue of poor health at all. Good health is more than just a matter of physical appearance and you should not have to relegate good health to a lesser status just because of your race, ethnicity, gender, or economic status. Healthy habits and good health are equal for all.
If you want to improve health disparities, you first need to address the issues that lead to health disparities. Your community should be involved in this planning phase. You should collect data on all health-related factors that impact you and your family’s health such as work, neighborhood, education, income, and neighborhood-specific issues. It is important that all these factors are considered in the analysis. Then, the recommendations made in the planning phase should be put into practice to address health disparities.