Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the condition of being fit and healthy; the ability to enjoy good health.” Various definitions have also been applied over the years for different medical purposes. For the purposes of this article, we will be using the broader definition in this article. This definition is rooted in the understanding that “health” can be attained through a balanced approach to life. It thus includes both physiological and psychological aspects.
The term “public health” has been defined by the thewho as “a system of preventive health care applied on a population scale”. It recognizes the need for basic information about diseases, prevention, diagnosis, treatments and related life course strategies. It aims to improve the quality of life and reduce the number of mortality and morbidity through strategies that include physical examination, diagnosis, monitoring, teaching, trials, guidelines and recommendations”. Thus, the aim of this system is to prevent and treat sicknesses before they become serious enough to threaten the survival of a person. The WHO stresses the significance of a balanced life course.
The second aspect under the heading of “mental health” is “the ability to learn, use, evaluate, develop and interact correctly in different social situations.” Mental health therefore, requires an individual to be able to live his life as well as properly handle his mind and his body. This definition excludes the self-diagnosis of a disease or the medical treatment of a disorder as such but emphasizes the role played by the affected person in determining the course of his illness or his response to it. The definition is thus not a strict one, as it is dependent on the attitudes, abilities and experiences of the person concerned. It also depends on the physical symptoms exhibited by the patient. The major components of this definition are the self-image and confidence, the ability to make social relationships, the ability to achieve and manage goals, and the self-control to exclude or refuse external influences that may affect one’s performance.
The third aspect under the heading of “mental health” is “the ability to enjoy life and lead a happy and successful life, having a normal and effective sense of self-worth and achievement”. Under this subheading, the term “satisfaction” is not used because it is considered by many to be a subjective concept and is not correlated with any objective state of health. Satisfaction is a synonym for personal satisfaction. This is the fourth element that is included in the definition of good health. The goal of a society in which people have good health should be to provide opportunities for social interaction, which is reflected in a healthy economy and a vibrant social life.
The fifth element in the definition of health is “expectation of others”. According to this concept, the expectation has parallel meaning to the concept of social determinants. In addition, this concept emphasizes the importance of “social capital” and “social support”. The sixth element is “effective access to quality health care”.
In its current formulation, the definition of good health has been revised in light of recent discoveries regarding the causes and treatments of complex diseases and their outcomes. In light of these developments, the focus has shifted from individual self-care to community-based preventive health care. At the same time, the social determinants associated with poor health behaviors have also been recognized as important drivers of health disparities. The updated definition of good health therefore includes both individual and group-level factors that impact health. Although, in general terms, the focus of health equity has shifted from individual to group-level determinants, an increasing number of studies have emphasized the role of social determinants such as health behaviors.