Depending on who you ask, there are many different answers to the question of what constitutes “health”. Some attribute it to genetics or family history, while others place it squarely on the shoulders of one’s lifestyle. Health is the ability to survive adverse events and keep a stable homeostasis. Besides physical factors, health also includes mental factors, such as the capacity to handle stress, develop skills, and maintain relationships. However, the exact definition is still up for debate, so let’s take a look at the three most common concepts of health.
The first principle is that health is a fundamental human right. According to the World Health Organization’s constitution, “Everyone has the right to enjoy the highest possible standard of health without distinctions of race, religion, political beliefs, or economic status.” This universal principle is endorsed by numerous nation states, and it is the duty of these countries to ensure access to quality health care in a timely manner. In addition, all nations must make provisions for the determinants of public and individual well-being, such as diet, education, and environment.
In modern terms, health is the absence of disease. Nevertheless, the medical profession can only declare an individual as healthy if they meet certain criteria. It is not possible to know a person’s true health without knowing how he or she feels. People’s subjective perception of their own health has no relevance in this framework. In fact, if something matches the medical criteria, it is not a symptom of disease. Rather, they should be treated as individuals.