“Health is a state of complete Physical, Social and Mental Well-Being, the ability to lead a Socially and Economically Productive Life and not merely the Absence of Disease or Infirmity”
World Health Organization
The word “health” can be defined in a number of ways, none of them marred as incorrect:
Health is a resource for everyday life, not the object of living. It is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities (WHO).
Health is the level of functional efficiency of an organism at both the cellular and social level. Further still, health is an organism’s ability to efficiently respond to challenges (stressors) and effectively restore and sustain a state of balance.
On the other hand the WHO definition is not without criticism, as some argue that health cannot be defined as a state at all, but must be seen as a process of continuous adjustment to the changing demands of living and of the changing meanings we give to life. The WHO definition is therefore considered by many as an idealistic goal rather than a realistic proposition.
There are four general determinants of health which can be labeled as “human biology,” “environment,” “lifestyle” and “healthcare organization” (LaLonde Report). Thus, health is maintained through the science and practice of medicine, but can also be improved by individual effort. Physical fitness, weight loss, a healthy diet, stress management training and stopping smoking and other substance abuse are examples of steps to improve one’s health.