Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. A wide variety of definitions have actually been used over time for different medical purposes. One way to look at it is to consider it the goal of life; to be healthy is to live a productive and meaningful life. For many people, being healthy means looking after yourself through a good diet, exercise routine, stress management and ensuring that you get enough sleep and do what you need to do to prevent illnesses.
Some other definitions of health include the ability to enjoy one’s life, work productively, manage time and achieve goals and aspirations. It also includes social determinants such as having the security of a stable family life, good relationships and access to good education, work opportunities and economic stability. The promotion of social determinants through interventions that deal with health issues is known as public health. Many health considerations are influenced by structural barriers to health. These are social, cultural and interpersonal issues such as discrimination and the limited social resources that some groups have.
Structural inequities are shown to contribute to health disparity by causing social differences that lead to health problems in some areas while ignoring others. Educational, health and nutrition programmes, for example, can address health inequities among people in communities that face similar health problems. Prevention programs can also be promoted that address these health inequities. Health promotion strategies can then be developed to address health equity, especially in terms of mortality, morbidity and health-threatening illness.