A Comprehensive Approach To Defining Health And Wellness
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an overall state of health that is maintained through the total life process.” A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years. In essence, health is considered to be a state of well-being with regard to health, quality of life, and one’s ability to do things that are deemed normal for a human being. In this way, it has been called the umbrella term “concept” to describe a range of concepts that include physical health, mental health, emotional health, and social health.
The extent of the definition of “well-being” has expanded significantly over the past few decades. With the emphasis on wellness promotion, more services and concepts have become associated with the idea of health. While some still consider it as a human right, others have adopted the point of view that it is a legal obligation to treat all human beings equally regardless of ability, circumstances, or wealth. In these circumstances, health has been defined as a subset of equity – it is now a human right equivalent of social justice.
The scope of the medical model of well-being has grown as well. Many people consider it to be a subset of psychology and mental health. It has been applied in nearly every domain of health care from preventing disease to preventing pregnancy. The increasing interrelatedness of physical, mental, and social aspects of daily life has brought forth the term “social wellness” to describe these facets.
Today, a comprehensive medical model of wellness incorporates the concept of illness, prevention, early detection, and rehabilitation. Illness is now seen to be a contributing factor to poor health, disability, and premature death. Moreover, research has shown that the absence of illness can lead to improved survival if appropriate care is provided in the earlier stages of illness. The increased focus on early detection and rehabilitation has resulted in a large decrease in the number of people dying needlessly from diseases such as AIDS and cancer, and has led to a decrease in the burden of disability claims filed by those who are unable to work due to illness.
The medical model of wellness is also useful for those who work in settings where wellness is not a target but an aim. It has been useful for employees who are stigmatized because of their health status or ethnicity. Similarly, defining health becomes much more important when the stigma is an inhibiting factor in employment.
Perhaps the most influential current development in the field of health and wellness is the development of a concept of healthy aging. Healthy aging defines health as a process that removes disease risk factors and improves health and functioning. It has been especially important for reducing the health and associated costs of age-related diseases. This approach has had enormous influence on reducing the mortality rates of numerous age groups.