Meaning and definition of health
Life & Culture Politics & Economy

What does Good Health mean to you?

A definition of health
needs to work for our nation

World Health Organisation defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This definition by WHO has not been amended since 1948.

Let’s thus understand different meanings

Dictionaries say, Health is a noun meaning the state of being free from illness or injury. See this sentence – He was restored to Health.

People may also ask – How do you define Health? In this case, Health can be defined as physical, mental, and social well-being, and as a resource for living a full life.

What is Good Health according to experts

Factors for Good Health include genetics, the environment, relationships, and education.

Health can be classified as under – Physical Health, Emotional Health, Mental/Intellectual Health, Social Health, Environmental Health, and Spiritual Health.

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Health as the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit.

Let us understand this sentence – She is the picture of Health. This sentence specifies freedom from physical disease or pain.

Take another example – How is your mother’s Health? This signifies the general condition of the body.

Meaning and definition of health

When Dr. Rajiv Goyal, a Business Coach and founder of Passion2Grow, says, “You have to define and maintain the Health of your business”, he means Health is a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

Doesn’t the word Health therefore refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well-being for both individuals and organizations?

In the situation like corona pandemic when businesses are looking at uncertainties, Dr. Rajiv Goyal is holding workshops for entrepreneurs and offering his expert advice to help businesses thrive irrespective of the negativities around.

Dr. Anupama Bahadur, Professor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh, says Health as perceived by a Health Professional has evolved over time. It is the ability of our body to function normally that is disrupted now and then by disease.

“In order to be healthy, an individual needs to be mentally, physically and socially able to handle stress, maintain relationships and live productively. Health is not merely described by absence of disease or disability but is a positive endeavour for optimum functioning of mind and soul in the socio-cultural milieu,” she says.

Skin-Hair-Nail: the new touch-points

For Dr. Rashmi Sharma, a leading dermatologist, skin is the largest organ of the body hence it has great impact on our psychological well-being and Health.

“I believe good skin keeps you happy from within,” she says, adding, “Diseases like acne in severe cases can lead to acne scars and you are scared for life. Similarly, many other dermatological diseases hold a heavy impact which is not proportional to the dimension of the disease.”

Nutritionist Dr. Pallavi says Good Health is central to our eating habits and living a long and active life. “A healthy diet, exercise, screening for diseases, and coping strategies can all enhance your Health,” she says.

Dr. Pallavi has dramatically increased people’s awareness of diseases and how they work. Since she initially started her medical practice as a radiologist, it has been easy for her to guide people, scanning through their medical history.

“Our eating habits play a bigger role in maintaining Good Health,” she says. “The best way to maintain Health is to preserve it through a healthful lifestyle, rather than waiting until we are sick to put things right.”

Dr. Pallavi’s husband Dr. Anil Mandhani is also a leading doctor – an urologist – who compliments her, saying that ‘Maintaining optimal Health is a lifelong, daily commitment’.

“The best approach to stay healthy is to know about your body. Knowledge about the function of your body parts is similar to understanding function of every part of a high tech automobile,” he says, asking, “When you go an extra mile to understand the function of an automobile to ride on it then why not your body which too is a machine?”

Dr. Mandhani says we must know about every part of our body and keep them healthy. “For example you need to take care of  your oral hygiene, your heart, your kidneys, your skin, your bowel, your muscles, your bones, your eyes and of course your brain too. So, just focus on these organs and work towards Good Health of them, and you will have a fantastic machine to work with.”

Dr. Anupama Bahadur Additional Professor Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rishikesh
Dr. Anupama Bahadur, Additional Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh.

Increase your immunity and eat well 

Dr. Maroof Siddiqui of Advanced Homeopathy stresses on increasing your immunity for which he says homeopathic way of living is easy and very affordable. “Health should be understood as the ability of your body to adapt to new threats and infirmities,” he says.

According to Dr. Maroof, Health depends on a wide range of factors. “A person is born with a range of genes, and in some people, an unusual genetic pattern can lead to a less-than-optimum level of health.”

Counselling Psychologist and Life Coach Nidhi Sharma says it is important to learn to manage stress if you want to maintain Good Health. “You should engage in activities that provide purpose and connection to others and maintain a positive outlook and appreciating what you have.”

Dr. Namrata of Drugless Health Care Center says, peak health will be different for each person, and how you achieve Good Health may be different from how someone else does. “It may not be possible to avoid disease completely, but doing as much as we can to develop resilience and prepare the body and mind to deal with problems as they arise is a step we can all take.”

Health, therefore, represents a complex interplay of multiple factors. Genes that define us, our environment (organisms, pollution etc.) in which we grow and prosper, our diet/exercise and mental stress, our relationships with friends and family and our addictions.

The body actively – and not just passively – attempts to conserve and promote Health. All we need to do is nudge our body towards positive Health by following healthy practices.

And, as Dr. V. K. Kak – well-known for his excellent academic adeptness and exceptional clinical skills – points out, a more useful definition of Health for measuring purposes should include no obvious evidence of disease, a person functioning normally, and several organs of body functioning adequately in themselves and in relation to one another.

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