The word “HEALTH” has different meanings to different people. In the United States, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services defines it as “the practice of preventive health care; maintaining good health; and caring for the elderly.” According to the World Health Organization, health is “the condition of being fit and healthy.” Different definitions have been applied to health over the years.
For some, health means a state of total well-being. These people feel that they are in good physical condition and that they are aware of their body and its needs. The goal of public health is to promote healthy living and participate in community activities for the overall good of the general population. Public health focuses on preventing illnesses and maximizing the individual’s capacity to cope with illness.
Other people focus on preventing illness by limiting exposure to infectious agents and improving the community’s environmental conditions. Environmental factors include air pollution, pesticides, chemicals, and other toxins. Individual factors include genetics, stress, diet, obesity, and physical activity. By making these changes, public health experts believe they can improve overall health and reduce illness.
There is also a difference between public health and public mental health. The term “public health” refers to preventive measures and early detection, while “mental health” focuses on symptoms and interventions used to treat mental disorders and provide psychotherapy. One example is the ADD/ADHD disorder. ADD/ADHD is an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that impairs concentration, memory, and behavior. Public health experts monitor the trends in the prevalence of this disorder among adults and create education campaigns to increase awareness and provide resources.
The debate over the relation between diet, psychology, and health has also generated interest in the study of subjective wellbeing. Studies have indicated that people living in low-income, unhealthy environments are more likely to develop illnesses than those who are exposed to a healthy lifestyle. This effect is likely due to the limited intake of natural health products and low contact with the outdoors. In response, some researchers have developed a novel environmental index that indexes the degree to which a person is exposed to a combination of unhealthy behaviors and environmental cues. Health experts are currently using this concept as a basis for improving public health. They hope that it will eventually help them design preventative measures that will better affect mental health.
Although some disagree with the idea of a subjective definition for health, there is no doubt that improving health is a priority for many people. Improving the overall quality of life and reducing the scope for future illness and disability is a worthy goal. Health-related programs and initiatives are designed to make it easier for individuals to manage their illnesses and improve the quality of their lives. As the definition of “well-being” evolves, the public health and community services that impact mental wellbeing are likely to become more effective.