What Is Health?

Eating healthy foods provides a plethora of health benefits. It can help maintain a healthy weight, lower stress levels and improve sleep.

The term health can mean different things to different people. For some, it is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. For others, it is the absence of disease and infirmity.

What is health?

Unlike disease which is often recognizable, tangible and easily defined, health can be more difficult to pin down. For instance, some people may avoid unhealthful activities like smoking or high stress levels to keep their bodies healthy, while others may eat well and get plenty of exercise but have genetic disorders that predispose them to certain conditions.

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. For doctors, this means that it is not just about identifying and treating disease but helping patients to adapt to their prevailing situation in order to live life to the fullest. This approach is known as pragmatism. It is a major shift away from the positivist concept of health as an absolute phenomenon and towards understanding how and why it differs for every individual.

Preventing common injuries and conditions

From stubbed toes and scraped knees to serious illnesses, injuries can have major health impacts. While most injuries are unavoidable, some can be prevented by taking precautions and working with your healthcare provider.

The most common types of injuries are sprains and strains (arise from muscles, ligaments, or tendons). These can happen while playing sports or exercising. To prevent these injuries, it’s important to warm up before exercise and stretch regularly.

Youth sports provide children and teens the opportunity to keep fit, have fun, and learn new skills. Unfortunately, many kids are injured while participating in sports. Injury can have a significant impact on a child’s health and lead to longer term disability or death. This topic explores ways to help prevent common injuries for children and teens.

Physical health

A person’s physical health is determined by how well their body works and how they manage illness, injury and disease. This includes how they eat and how much exercise they get. It is also influenced by environmental factors such as the presence of germs and pollutants in air or water.

Good physical health includes eating a balanced diet and getting enough rest. It is also achieved through regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, which can be done at any age and ability level and for any reason. Healthy lifestyles include avoiding unhealthy habits like tobacco and drug use, having routine medical checkups, and protecting your body from illnesses and injuries. This is called preventative health care. It helps people stay healthy, feel their best and live longer.

Mental health

Mental health encompasses an individual’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. This influences how they think and act, as well as their ability to cope with stress, work productively and make healthy choices throughout life.

Mental illnesses are common and contribute to higher medical costs, lower productivity, disability and premature death. They can be caused by a combination of risk and protective factors at local, regional and global levels.

A person’s mental health greatly affects their relationships with friends and family. If they’re in good health, they may be able to offer others love and support, even through difficult times. On the other hand, people in poor health may resort to drugs and alcohol or other unhealthy coping mechanisms such as aggression or withdrawal to manage their emotions.

Social health

Often, when you think of health you may immediately consider the physical or mental aspects. But it’s important to remember that social well-being is just as essential to health as anything else.

Hundreds of studies support the idea that a sense of emotionally sustaining relationships benefits mental health, and in turn, physical well-being. The same goes for a sense of belonging and feeling that life is meaningful.

It’s also worth considering how your students’ social wellness is impacted by the people and places they live. It’s one of the social determinants of health—others include financial wellness, neighborhood quality and access to healthcare.