Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an overall state of health that is achieved through a combination of essential bodily processes and practices, and an attitude toward life”. A wide variety of definitions are used for such purposes, over time. While health is a subjective state, there are many objective markers associated with it. Some of these include a healthy body mass index, a low blood pressure, and a low total cholesterol level. A healthy diet and exercise are also important aspects.
Many people today are under the impression that they need to follow a strict health regimen to be healthy. This is because public health education campaigns have stressed the need to be cautious about what we put into our bodies, particularly in regards to diet and exercise. Although some research has attempted to link the poor nutritional status of people to illness, the connection between illness and poor health has been proven to be quite weak. More reliable markers for good health are found in the habits, personality traits and physiology of an individual.
One of the first public health interventions focused on physical health was the creation of the National Childhood Cancer Society (NCCS). The objective of the organization was to create a community dedicated to preventing cancer and improving the chances of recovery from this disease. The Society also works towards finding a cure for the disease. For a more direct approach, the government began the Specialized Services for Children with Physical Illness (SSCIP) in 1980. Through this initiative, the government evaluated the quality of life and mental wellbeing of children with physical illnesses and developed programs to improve them. In addition, public mental health programs were introduced to address issues like alcohol and drug abuse, depression and other emotional disorders.
Health, as defined by various organizations, requires a different kind of approach than most people take when defining health. For example, most medical practitioners think of health as suffering from illness, disability or disease. These illnesses, though they can be severe, can be treated adequately through modern medical science, so when it comes to evaluating health or mental wellness, most health professionals think of it as existing when a person is able to cope up with daily activities or with the situations he or she is in.
Most psychologists think of mental health as managing everyday life. People are not necessarily healthy all the time, but they often manage their everyday life in a healthy way. This does not necessarily mean that they do not have physical health problems, because some physical problems do not lead to mental health issues. Many physical illnesses, such as infections, allergies and diseases of the digestive system, can affect both mind and body. Likewise, psychological disorders that affect mood, thought patterns and feelings can also lead to physical illness.
The connection between illness, disability and public health is not clear, but it is something that needs further research. If this is found to be the case, then the solutions will most likely focus on addressing the physical illness and addressing the psychological well-being. If the link between these two aspects is not established, then there may be little that can be done about the problem. This is why more studies on the topic are needed.