What is good health? At what point is someone said to have a bad health? Or is health just an intrinsic feeling? In actual sense, at any point in time, one’s body is fixing something, recovering from something or creating something new. This could be in terms of homeostasis or recovery from a drift in resting state.
Everyone seems to deteriorate after a point in the growth cycle, so what is the criteria with respect to age or environmental factors to specifically define good health? I can’t jump as I used to when I was young. Is this bad health?
Good health could be defined as a state of mental soundness and a least restricting physical state relative to one’s age and environment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Health as, “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The World Health Organization reports three main determinants of Health which are as follows.
1. One’s social and economic environment
2. One’s physical environment
3. One’s individual characteristics and behaviors
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
From this information, we can consider some factors that may promote or deteriorates one’s health, on which I will elaborate a few.
Life is a cycle. From infancy one grows into adulthood. After about age 40, the body begins its real journey of aging. Aging weakens one’s immune system making them more susceptible to infections. Anytime cells divide in aging, “lipofuscin” a harmless by product of lysosomal activity accumulates. As one grows these proteins accumulate which increases the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, denervation atrophy etc.
2. Education or Illiteracy
This is primarily linked to being knowledgeable or ignorant but, in this sense, we look at the effect of being able to read and write. Our world today is full of information that should be acquired by one’s self. An individual’s inability to identify information puts them at high risk of avoidable situations.
3. High Income or Low Income
Diet is a very key component of health and as such, one needs to be very careful about what goes into their stomach and then transported into their blood. You can’t really tell if high income promotes good diet or low income does. The only reasonable fact is that, high income is proportional to hygiene which also gives you the power to eat exactly what you want to eat; whether it’s junk food or a low carb diet.
4. Culture (social environment) or Genetics
I believe that you’re either influenced from the inside or from the outside. One’s way of life (culture) with respect to their society can affect healthy living. Genes can also make one easily susceptible to ill health which they will have to live with for the rest of their life.
5. Physical environment
Basically one’s ecosystem or natural environment has an impact on their health. A common example is how approximately 140 million people who live at high altitudes above 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) have adapted to the lower oxygen levels in their ecosystem. This environment won’t be ideal for newcomers.
It’s very straight forward that certain conditions will affect females more than males and vice-versa. Both groups have different physiologies due to genetic variations and are therefore influenced by different hormones that develops distinct physical appearances between them.
7. Knowledge or Ignorance
I place this factor last because this is the aspect “We” as Healthy Slide want to tackle since it’s the only factor to be easily altered and have the most immediate effect on health. Gaining knowledge about something that could potentially harm you long term psychologically draws your attention to putting effort in reducing the risk. There have been many efforts to restrict smoking by the FDA but the addictive effects of smoking keep the numbers rising; this is to say that being knowledgeable may not per say influence one person’s decision outrightly but imagine if cigarettes didn’t have tags on them labeling them to be harmful. The number of smokers as well as packs smoked each day would have multiplied in many folds.
Lifestyle they say is the artist of a good health. Daily activities put a lot of stress on our bodies. The only way nature has designed us, humans, to recover is through diet, exercise and sleep. These are essential for maintaining good health.
Public health is defined as, “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.”
This aspect of health looks at the population at large focusing on epidemiology, biostatistics and health services to analyze data from the community, homes, work places etc. Public health programs are organized to create awareness usually on maternal and child health system, response to medical emergencies, screening programs etc. all in the attempt to control the increasing number of communicable diseases and chronic conditions.
Types of Health
1. Physical Health
2. Social Health
3. Environmental Health
4. Emotional Health
5. Spiritual Health
Importance of Good Health
1. Normal daily activities
2. Weight loss and its associated benefits
3. Reduced risk of acute and chronic illness (infectious diseases like cholera, cancer etc.)
4. Reduced early deterioration with age
5. Management of Chronic Conditions (Diabetes Mellitus)
6. Sound mind
7. Sharp memory
Some Efforts of the United Nations on Promoting Good Health
Goal 3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to promote “Good Health and Well-being.”
Since 1990, the United Nations have had tremendous impact in reducing child mortality and maternal health, fighting HIV/AIDS, curbing malaria and other diseases. Over this period, there has been about 50% decline in preventable child deaths globally. Maternal mortality has fallen by 45% worldwide. More than 6.2 million peoples have been saved from malaria and new records of HIV/AIDS infections fell by 30% between 2000 and 2013.
This may seem a good step but the growing number of people and the evolution of infectious strains of pathogens as well as other causes seem to fight back in this war of survival.
Despite all the efforts from the United Nations, about 6 million children still die before the age of 5. Measles and tuberculosis which are preventable diseases tend to kill about 16,000 children each day. More than a thousand women die each day from childbirth or childbirth related complications. AIDS is now the leading cause of death among teenagers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
These deaths can be avoided mainly through education, prevention, treatment, immunization campaigns, and sexual and reproductive healthcare. These efforts are usually carried out by the Public Health Systems.
The United Nations are committed to ending the epidemics of AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. The United Nations aims to provide safe and affordable drugs as well as vaccination to everybody.
Good health and Mental Well-Being allows one to live a normal life maximizing life-expectancy. Practicing good hygiene, practicing safe sex, seeking good clinical treatments, avoiding illegal drugs and addictive substances will promote one’s physical and mental health. Good diet, frequent exercise and a good rest will increase one’s rate of physiological recovery, which promotes good health as well.