The World Health Organization’s Constitution proclaimed health as a fundamental human right, recognizing that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is a universal right. This right transcends race, religion, political belief, or socioeconomic status, and is backed by numerous nation states. Under the Constitution, national governments are legally obligated to ensure that citizens have access to quality health care and make provision for the determinants of health. This right has led to a new definition of health, called ‘personhood’.
Although there is no universal definition of health, we all share several common denominators. One of these is the absence of disease. Another definition focuses on the ability to cope with daily tasks and demands. Finally, health can be defined as a state of balance, characterized by a high level of mental and physical functioning. The key to a healthy lifestyle is achieving a healthy balance between all these factors. In addition to being physically healthy, we should also consider our mental and social circumstances and make sure to stay active.
The causes of inequities in health are complex. Social, economic, and neighborhood conditions all influence people’s health. Inequitable policies and cultural norms often contribute to health disparities. MDPH aims to eliminate these inequities by improving access to resources and services that are available to all. Healthy people 2020 is a blueprint for achieving this goal. But it will not happen overnight. Inequitable conditions and policies must be eliminated before the world can achieve its goal of universal health.