The Concept of Health
We all are well known to the term 'HEALTH’. What does this term mean? Let us consider the definition of health proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948.
'HEALTH IS A STATE OF COMPLETE PHYSICAL, MENTAL & SOCIAL WELL-BEING & NOT MERELY THE ABSENCE OF DISEASE OR INFIRMITY.'
In 1986, the WHO in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion said 'HEALTH IS A RESOURCE FOR EVERYDAY LIFE, NOT THE OBJECTIVE OF LIVING.'
So, health is a positive state. In other words, health is a state of complete well-being & not just the absence of disease. A person may not be suffering from any disease & yet may not enjoy complete well-being. It sometimes happens to us when we feel tired & feeling incapable of doing any work, so then we aren’t enjoying complete well-being. There are also many times when we suffer from an infection or periods of ill health. This means no person enjoys full health all the time.However; we call a person healthy if he or she enjoys good health most of the time.
Thus, health is achieved through a combination of physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Mental Health is that which implies freedom from internal conflicts, a good capability to cope with the situations and the people, sensitivity to the emotional needs of others & good control over one's own emotions giving up strong feelings of fear, jealousy, anger etc.
Mental health is more complex concept than physical health as it is difficult to measure. The interrelationship between physical and mental health can be explored with the help of specific examples. High blood pressure is one form of physical ill health. It can be caused by constant stress and for ability to handle difficult situations. This is an example of how mental ill health can cause physical ill health.
Physical Health is the overall condition of a living being at a given time, the soundness of the body, absence of disease or abnormality, and the condition of optimal well-being. When we say a person is healthy we refer to this aspect. It is easy to detect & describe. A person is physically healthy if he/she looks alert,is responsive,energetic & vigorous.The are some signs whereby a person in good physical health can be identified.
3.Digestion and absorption-Normal
4.Eyes-Bright,clear,no fatigue circles
5.Gums-Firm, good, pink colour, or no swelling
6.Hair-Shiny, lustrous, healthy scalp
7.Lips-Good colour, moist
8.Legs, feet-No tenderness, weakness or swelling
9.Muscles-Well developed, firm
10.Neck glands-Not enlarged
11.Nervous control-Not irritable or restless
12.Posture-Erect, abdomen in & chest out
14.Skin-Smooth, good colour & moist
16.Teeth-Straight, no discolouration
17.Tongue-Good, pink colour, no lesions
18.Weight-Normal for height, age & body build
(The above data is adapted from ESSENTIALS OF NUTRITION & DIET THERAPY by Sue R. Williams,4th ed-1986)
The term Social Health states that if an individual recognizes that he/she belongs to a family and is able to interact with a wider community, understands his/her obligations towards other members of society and is able to relate to other people around him/her is said to be socially healthy individual.
The goal of social health can’t be realized without achieving mental health. Any kind of mental ill health will adversely affect the interaction with others and therefore reduces ones ability to be a useful member of society. In the same way, an individual who doesn’t enjoy physical health wouldn’t achieve social health easily.
How does one recognize social ill health? Those who destroy the peace of a society are treated as anti-socials such as criminals. Their behaviour and way of living are not socially acceptable and interns they are called anti-socials. Any kinds of activities such as theft, murder and other destructive behaviour which aren’t socially acceptable are called anti-social behaviour.
It is not easy task to define the term spiritual health. If a healthy individual understands and obeys religious and moral codes, the concept of doing good and of not harming others, duty and obligation, basic forces of goodness and justice whether or not these are worshipped as god etc, he or she will be recognized as a spiritually well person. We, as Indians, probably understand spiritually more because in our society religious and moral codes of conduct are easily observable. One must know that blindly following religious practices and customs does not necessarily make and individual spiritually healthy.
PREVENTIVE HEALTH MEASURES
To prevent the occurrence and spreading of a disease calls for preventive measures. In 0.
general, the following rules can be applied or followed as far as preventive measures are concerned.
1) PERSONAL HYGIENE AND COMMUNITY HYGIENE - Keep clean. Cleanliness dissuades the growth and propagation of disease -causing organisms.
2)BALANCED DIET- A number of diseases caused due to deficiency
of proteins and vitamins balanced diet.
3) IMMUNIZATION - To prevent the occurrence of a number of diseases, immunization against them is highly desirable. Vaccines are available against pox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis; etc.Children should be given these vaccines at the correct age.
4) DISPOSAL OF WASTE – Garbage should be kept covered to keep out flies and mosquitoes which are carriers of germs.
5)EDUCATION AGAINST THE USE OF TOBACCO,ALCHOHOL AND NARCOTIC DRUNGS – The ill – effects of tobacco, alcohol and narcotic drugs must be highlighted so that younger generation , in particular , may be guarded against the use of such substances.
6) CLEAN SEX LIFE – A number of diseases like AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea are spread by irresponsible sexual behaviours.Education and awareness is very much required in our country to prevent certain diseases and AIDS from assuming epidemic proportions.
7) EXERCISE & RELAXATION- The energy required by our working muscles is produced in our bodies with the help of the oxygen that we breathe in. Regular and correct physical exercise tunes and improves the efficiency of the heart,lungs and the blood circulation system.In short, exercise keeps us fit.There are numerous other advantages of regular physical exercise.People who exercise regularly are less prone to heart attacks and strokes.Exercise keeps body weight under control.Exercise promotes digestion and is helpful in a good night’s sleep.Exercise is specially needed for those who requires to keep sitting for a long period of time.