What is health? According to the World Health Organization, health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, including the absence of illness or infirmity. However, there are many different definitions for what constitutes good health. Here are a few:
In the WHO founding constitution, health is defined as a “state of complete well-being” characterized by the absence of disease or injury. The definition is based on the premise that health is the means or object of a full life and not a limited state of wellbeing. The charter also highlights the connection between health and participation in society. Despite its lofty goal, this definition is flawed on many levels. While it is an ideal state of health, it fails to reflect the reality of chronic illnesses and disabilities, thereby contributing to the overmedicalisation of our societies.
The second type of health definition is less specific. Some individuals will be considered healthy, even if they exhibit symptoms of illness. These people will usually function according to the standards of age and gender. But there will be some who will fall outside these categories. Health is a state of well-being for most of the population, and not everyone will fit into the first type of definition. The first definition, however, is the most accurate. A healthy state of well-being is the result of good physical and mental health.
The WHO definition of health evokes the idea that the condition of a person’s life is not defined by its lack of disease. However, despite the fact that 617 million people in the world are over 65 years old, it is still too narrow to be considered healthy. This gap reflects a fundamental problem in our society: our definition of health excludes the majority of people who are suffering from chronic illnesses. It also exacerbates the dissonance between a healthy person and the standard of health.