In the United States, health is defined as having “the best possible quality of life attained through knowledge, care, and techniques appropriate to optimal health.” Health is associated with several aspects and some of them are physical, mental, and social. The definition of health varies from one culture to another. For example, in some cultures, health is associated with cleanliness and hygiene while in others, it is considered to be immaterial.
In general, health is seen as a process of observing the individual’s health in their surroundings and evaluating whether they are in good health or unhealthy ones. The process of health appraisal has developed into an accepted practice, with most people believing that they should know their current state of health and what might cause future illness and disability if it continues to be poor. However, the definition of health itself has shifted in many ways over time, especially in America. Today, health is considered to be a good thing that promotes personal well being and family harmony.
In addition to traditional methods of surveying health, many researchers now use diagnostic methods such as medical histories and questionnaires to study health disparities. One notable example is the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHEES). Analyses of this survey have shown that health disparities are not just found among major diseases but also among common diseases such as asthma, diabetes, dental diseases, and obesity, as well as between whites and other races and between people with different ages. As these studies indicate, health disparities may result from different lifestyles, cultural patterns, and diet, as well as causes such as genetics, disease prevention and treatment, and environment. Although understanding these causes of health disparities will help us find solutions, we can still do something about them and promote health literacy by making sure that all Americans understand the basics of good health.