How to Define Health


There are many definitions of health. The most common is a lack of disease. This definition, however, does not address the societal and individual dimensions of health. While disease is one of the biggest threats to the well-being of society, managing it is also vital to overall health. The concept of health must be broadened to include a broader spectrum of health issues, as many nations are aging. Below are some key factors to consider when defining health.

Health is often defined in quantitative terms. Depending on the definition, health can be defined as a person’s overall health, their ability to function, or their likelihood of acquiring a disease in the near future. These health measurements are commonly found in textbooks of clinical medicine and diagnosis. Health examinations will typically involve a series of tests, some of which are more descriptive than quantitative. Some of these tests are useful in detecting disease in seemingly healthy people.

The World Health Organization defines health as the complete physical, mental, and social well-being of an individual or society. Health is a fundamental human right that offers people the means to live a full life with meaning and purpose. According to the 2017 State Health Assessment, about 20 percent of a person’s health is determined by genetics, while 15 percent is determined by their environment. These two factors are known as social determinants of health. While genetics and health care may affect individual health, the other factors, such as social and economic status, can greatly influence the quality of life.