The World Health Organization’s Definition of Health

When defining health, the definition of a healthy person is not static. The term can be described in many ways, including quantitative measurements of function and likelihood of disease. Such measurements are found in a table of reference values and in textbooks of clinical medicine and diagnosis. A health examination will almost certainly include a number of tests. Some of these tests will be descriptive rather than quantitative. Still, they can indicate the presence of disease in a seemingly healthy person.

The World Health Organization defines health as complete physical, mental, and social well-being. This can be achieved by encouraging or reducing certain behaviors or situations. Some determinants of health are individual choices, while others are structural. By defining health in terms of these factors, we can assess our exposures and determine where to focus our efforts. For example, we can identify environmental exposures that impact our health. We can also consider the effect of social conditions on our health.

In the 20th century, the medical model of health was widely accepted. This defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. This is not only inaccurate, but can be counterproductive. It fails to take into account disability and chronic illness, and it leads to an overmedicalized society. Instead, health should be considered an individual’s well-being and should be considered a human right. This is the definition the World Health Organisation gives to its definition of health.