What is health? According to the World Health Organization, “health is a condition of life that enables individuals to flourish; it is the extension of optimum health, the balanced functioning of body, mind, and spirit in its natural capacity.” Many different definitions have been applied to health over the years. It has been said that “health” is being able to cope up with all the basic needs of life; it is having enough food and the right amount of clean water to live; it is having a happy relationship with the community you live in and with people close to you; having access to health services and conditions; having a safe place to live; having educational opportunities and having a sound sleep at night. Health can also mean having strong muscles, an attractive appearance, a good health condition in general. Some people may consider these things luxuries but they are definitely important to people who want to lead a healthy lifestyle.
People who are living a healthy life are less likely to develop chronic illnesses or sicknesses such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, allergies, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis. They are less likely to develop certain cancers or acquire gum or oral cavities or kidney disease. And they are less likely to get colds and coughs or to be sick with viral or bacterial infections. These people are less likely to have psychiatric or behavioral disorders or to experience major changes in their health status. People who are living a healthy lifestyle are less likely to become depressed, less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, and less likely to engage in risky behaviors like smoking. In short, people who are healthy are happier, healthier, and more successful in life than those who are living unhealthy lifestyles.
The promotion of public health has resulted in many health improvements; there are more clinics offering vaccinations, more doctors and nurses practicing preventive care, and more people suffering from serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are being treated. In addition, the improved public health has resulted in less death and injury from serious illnesses and accidents. More people live longer and healthier lives than ever before. This is all due to the public health efforts of the United States and other wealthy countries.