Concepts of Health: a Broad Perspective

Health is one of those terms which most people find it difficult to define although they are confident of the meaning of health. World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as follows health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity. In recent years the definition has been amplified to include the ability to lead socially and economically productive life. Many people criticize this definition as too broad. Some people say health can not be defined as state, and it is a process continuous adjustment to the changing demands of living. Health is a dynamic concept. Health helps people to work well, live well and enjoy themselves. That is why many people consider the WHO definition of health as too idealistic, rather than realistic. The definition refers to situations that may exist in some but not all the people at a time. It is irrelevant to everyday demand as nobody can qualify as healthy that is perfect physiological, biological, and social functioning. In sort if we accept the WHO definition of health, we all are sick.

Dimensions of health:

1)Physical dimension: it implies the perfect functioning of the body. It is abiological state in which every cell and every organ is functioning at optimum capacity and is in perfect harmony with the rest of the body. The signs of physical health are a clean skin, bright eyes, lustrous hair, firm flesh, not too fat, a sweet breath, good appetite, sound sleep, regular activity of the bowels and bladder and smooth easy coordination of body movements.

2)Mental dimension: mental health is not mere absence of mental disease. It is the ability to respond to varieties of experiences of life with flexibility and a sense of purpose. If a person can not respond with confidence to different experiences of life, he is not healthy mentally.

3)Social dimension: social well being is harmony and integration within the individual, between each individual and other member of society and in the world where they live. Social dimension is the quantity and quality of an individual interpersonal relationships and the extent of involvement with the community.

4)Spiritual dimension: time has come to give serious consideration to the concept of spiritual dimension of health. It is the something intangible that transcend physiology and psychology.

5)Emotional dimension: historically mental and emotional health was seen as a single unit. But as new research is coming out the difference is emerging. Mental health is knowing or cognition, but emotional health is more of feeling.

6)Vocational dimension: it is a new dimension and part of human life. When work is fully adapted to the human goal, capacity and limitation, it plays a role in promoting physical and mental health. The importance of this dimension is exposed when a person lose his job or faced with mandatory retirement.

7)Other dimensions: a few other dimensions are also suggested like philosophical dimension, cultural dimension, socioeconomic dimension, educational dimension, environmental dimension, nutritional dimension, curative dimension and preventive dimension.

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