We often hear the term “health” when we talk about ourselves or others, but most of us do not understand what it means. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an optimal state of total physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of sickness and disease.” A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years. The dictionary definition is, “the excess of good health, the condition of being fit and fine.” Another common definition is, “the quality of living well.” But the biggest issue that people worry about is whether being healthy means having an ideal weight, being fit and having a reasonable amount of energy, and being happy.
The new definition offers many benefits in addition to all of those things. As Dr. Edward Curnoles, professor emeritus at the University of Texas at Dallas and a practicing doctor, explain, “The word ‘wellness’ has various different meanings depending on who you ask. For instance, it can mean good health, moderate health, good appearance, and emotional well-being. In recent years, the emphasis has become more on the quality aspects of health rather than the quantity. Being healthy is a composite concept, and part of this is having a desirable body mass index, being in good psychological health, and having a sense of physical and mental well-being.”
He goes on to explain that wellness encompasses many factors, and that there is no one single definition for good health. However, the definition does include the key components that will promote good health: physical activities, a balanced diet, a low intake of calories, a regular schedule of physical activity, and maintaining a low stress level. It is important to make lifestyle choices that promote overall health because lifestyle choices directly affect health. If we do not make lifestyle choices that support good health, then we will have a difficult time coping with the unexpected, whether it be illness or injury and will not be as well equipped to handle the changes that occur throughout our lives. The definition of “wellness” is a general one. However, these three components are critical in creating a positive picture of what it means to be healthy.