In the early 1950s, the WHO defined health as the state of being free from diseases, pain, disability, and a lack of social deprivation. By contrast, in the early 2000s, life expectancy worldwide was only 52 years for men and 50 years for women. Infant mortality was a major cause of the low life expectancy. The prevalence of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, has also declined. In the mid-1900s, these three diseases were the leading causes of death.
The World Health Organization defined health as “the total state of physical, mental, and social well-being of an individual”. Today, however, many scientists believe that this definition is no longer adequate to reflect the current state of society. The definition of health, as proposed by Huber et al., is based on the fact that health is a personal, situation-specific state. Despite its importance, achieving a healthy state of wellbeing is not an easy task. People are not born healthy. They develop diseases and acquire new ones as they age, but they can still maintain good health.
During the 20th century, the medical model of health became a widely accepted concept, allowing people to live longer and healthier lives. This approach did not take into account the social, psychological, or cultural aspects of disease. Instead, it embraced the biopsychosocial model, integrating social, physical, and psychological factors that contribute to health. The World Heath Organisation states that health is “the state of complete well-being of an individual.”