Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is an “excellent condition of health that includes the avoidance or reduction of risks associated with illness or disease.” Various definitions have also been used over time for various medical purposes. In its modern sense, health is essentially having a good general quality of life; the ability to participate productively in society; enjoyment of physical health, emotional health, and resources and capacity to cope with stress.
The goal of healthy persons is to achieve and maintain good health, and to do so they attempt to avoid or reduce all risk factors for illness. This goal is frequently thought to be both physically and mentally attainable. Persons who are mentally healthy are able to cope with stress and remain productive members of society. Individuals who are physically healthy have an environment that is supportive of their physical health and help them maintain it. Finally, persons who are in poor health have very limited support systems and are at high risk for disease, disability, death, or adverse consequences.
The concepts of health and illness and the concepts of wellness and immobility have been discussed for many years. The most general factor considered is life expectancy at birth, which is determined by various social determinants such as economic development, literacy, health conditions, life expectancy at marriage and body mass index. The remaining factors in the definition of health status are based on well-known facts about health and are therefore important determinants of health. These include the physical environment, personal characteristics, social environments, exposure to harmful agents, and knowledge and behaviors regarding health. The health status figure 1.1.1 is a composite of several commonly used and acknowledged health determinants.