Understanding Health Can Help Us Keep/Maintain It

In order to keep ourselves healthy, we need to understand in totality the meaning of health. We can achieve this goal through a closer look at the definitions provided by various authorities in issues of health. The definitions are crafted to try to capture all that entails our health and/or the health of other living organisms ( health determinants). At individual level, digging deeper in understanding the meaning of health in its broadest perspective would help us to be conscious of what we can do for ourselves to maintain our own health and wellness, and where to get help were necessary. For a better understanding of health, it is quite helpful to clear the the confusion we often encounter with regard to the difference between health and medicine (with definitions also provided below).

The World health Orginization (WHO) defines health as follows: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 

Fine and Peters (2007) define health as follows: “Health is the biological, social, and psychological ability that affords an equal opportunity for each individual to function in the relationships appropriate to his or her cultural context at any point in the life cycle.

Melloni (2006) defines health and medicine as follows:


1. The state of an organism with respect to its physical, mental, and social well
2. The state of an organism functioning optimally without disorders of any nature.
Public h. The organized programs, services, and institutions involved with the
prevention and control of disease of the population as a whole on the international,
national, state, or municipal level.


1. The science of diagnosing and treating general diseases or those involving the internal parts of the body, distinguished from surgery.
2.  A drug.

Alternative Medicine. A broad range of approaches to the promotion of health and treatment of disease (e.g., acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, diets, homeopathy, massage, osteopathy, faith healing); may be based on anatomic observations, medications, and some form of clinical practice.

Mosby (2013) defines health and medicine as follows:

Health is a condition of physical, mental, and social well-being and the absence of disease or other abnormal condition. It is not a static condition. Constant change and adaptation to stress result in homeostasis. René Dubos, often quoted in nursing education, says, The states of health or disease are the expressions of the success or failure experienced by the organism in its efforts to respond adaptively to environmental challenges.See also high-level wellness, homeostasis

Medicine as the art of healing -
1. a drug or a remedy for illness.
2. the art and science of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and the maintenance of good health. 3. the art or technique of treating disease without
surgery. Two major divisions of medicine are academic medicine and clinical medicine. Some of the many branches of medicine are environmental medicine, family medicine, forensic medicine, internal medicine, and physical medicine.
—medical, adj.

Food for thought!!!


Fine, M and Peters J. W. (2007). The Nature of Health. How America lost, and can regain, a basic human value; CRC Press.

MELLONI, J. L. (2006). Melloni's pocket medical dictionary: illustrated. Boca Raton, Parthenon Pub. Group

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary. (2013). 9th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier

WHO (2018). Constitution; Available at: https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution


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