The Determinants of Healthy Behaviors
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. A wide variety of definitions have also been applied to health throughout the years. One of the most common of these is that of the “ideal” health state, which involves being healthy physically and mentally with a capacity for love, compassion and gratitude. This ideal state can be achieved through being self-aware, accepting and committed to wholesome habits and behaviors, and having a sense of personal responsibility for one’s health.
Many health services affect an individual behavior or are affected by an individual behavior. An individual behavior that can be influenced or directly affected by health services includes the physical functions of the body, the ability to process information, knowledge and emotions, the functioning of the immune system, leisure and pleasure, work and other employment, social connections and the physical environment. Indirect effects of health services include changes in the patterns of alcohol or drug use, cigarette smoking, diet, nutritional status, physical activity and the general levels of well-being among individuals living in the community. These determinants are important since they help determine the kinds of public health programs that are best suited for the individuals living in a particular area or setting. Different approaches to population health management take account of the individual behavior and its influences on the determinants of health.
Determining the individual behavior and its influences on health outcomes requires research, measurement, analysis and interpretation. These elements are interdependent, reciprocal and complex. This means that it can be difficult to explain how changes in one factor can have widespread effects on other factors and on health outcomes. The interdependence and complexity of health services means that no single solution can address all health problems.