Understanding the Concept of Health

There are several theories and practical definitions of health, with the latter primarily emphasizing the value of good health for individual well-being. One such theory is the concept of health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. However, it is also important to note that the modern understanding of health is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The definition of health must be tailored to each individual, as no two people are alike.

Ancient Greeks interpreted health as the balance between mind and body and the origin of disease. In fact, the concepts of health also reflect similar concepts in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine. In the fifth century BC, the Greek philosopher Pindar formulated a concept of health that stressed the importance of a proper diet and lifestyle. According to Pindar, health was the state of a person who felt comfortable and free of pain. In addition, health is a concept that is largely related to culture.

Historically, people of color and other underserved groups have experienced disparities in health outcomes. Disparities have persisted, and in some cases, even widening. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, data show that people of color and low-income groups consistently had worse health outcomes than White people. In one study, African Americans reported less favorable experiences with health care than Whites, which was not surprising. A KFF/The Undefeated survey of U.S. adults found that Black Americans were four times more likely to report negative health care experiences compared to White adults.