Wellness and Health
Health, according to the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity.’ Numerous definitions have also been applied for different purposes throughout the history of medical philosophy. In some instances the word was used to denote the condition while in other instances it was understood to refer to the body’s innate capacities for the maintenance of health. It was John Locke, who is credited with developing the phrase ‘health is wealth’ in relation to the true meaning of the phrase. In his Essay on Health and Happiness he says, ‘To be healthy, a man must be able to enjoy and possess the good of life, the only source of real happiness,’ and that man can achieve this state of health through ‘contentment.’
However, contentment could also be considered the primary objective of most health care programs. This is because of the fact that to achieve well-being, you need to have access to quality health services. The reality, however, is that quality health care systems in the U.S. are usually inefficient. The efficiency of U.S. public health services is particularly low when it comes to preventing the development of major life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Public health services have become a very large administrative function that has been taken over by different governmental agencies. Because of this increased administrative burden, health care providers have less time and money to focus on providing patients with the best possible health care.
The definition of health has changed many times throughout the history of mankind. One of the biggest reasons for this is that humans, as a species, have always been curious about their environment and have always been inquisitive about their own health. Today, health is no longer understood as a state of fullness but as a state of being healthy, of having all the components of well-being.