The Definition of Disease – A Broad Approach
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of sickness and infirmity.” In fact, there are a number of definitions that have been applied to the term over the years. For some time, the United States has been seen as one of the most progressive countries when it comes to caring for the general population. This has been attributed to a long history of public health efforts and the implementation of better standards of living. Although these factors certainly contributed to the overall health of the population, there are also other factors that affect the health of a nation.
One of the biggest contributing factors towards poor health is individual behavior. The American Heart Association highlights the need for individuals to make “diet, exercise, and emotional therapy” a part of their daily routine, in order to keep their heart healthy and prevent the onset of heart disease. Likewise, the Canadian Heart Society recommends that adults be “active” during leisure time, in addition to making “provisional” physical activity a regular part of your lifestyle.
As the aging population continues to increase in Western societies, there is also a strong need for the definition of health to be adapted to meet the changing needs of this demographic. It has been identified that age and gender play a role in the progression of diseases and health problems. In particular, the definition of disease has been found to vary significantly between men and women, as well as within ethnic groups. In addition, despite the best efforts of researchers, the overall health of the US population continues to decline, with more people being diagnosed with and suffering from chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis and cancer. As the Baby Boomer generation ages and the retirement rate begins to increase, there will be an increased focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, promoting physical fitness and encouraging a healthy diet and active lifestyle among the general population.