The Determinants of Healthy Living and Illness

The word “health” itself has a lot of meaning to different people. For most, health is a condition where disease and infirmity are totally absent. However, for others, health is akin to the quality of life that one enjoys. Some people define health differently as a state of total well-being where all the three elements of health (physical, mental and social) are adequately balanced. There is no room for deterioration when it comes to health. On the other hand, there is a considerable difference between the two concepts. Health is something you should aspire to achieve and can never be attained. It is something you can only acquire by making an effort and spending your personal time and money. It is something that you can have only through living and thriving. It is the result of our individual efforts and the products of our social interactions with others’ pain. On the other hand, health promotion is the attempt to enhance the general quality of life, the state of health that one enjoys. It is the product of our interaction with other human beings. It is a process that attempts to decrease the rate of morbidity and mortality. Some of the determinants of health status are the environment, population, culture, demographics, economic structure and lifestyle. When it comes to public health, we refer to three broad categories – sickness, disease and mortality. Sickness refers to any disease or impairment that affects the organs, tissues or cells of the body. Disease, on the other hand, is any physical disturbance that reduces the ability of an individual’s body to function normally. Mortality refers to the loss of life due to illness, injury or premature death. All three definitions are relative to the general population of individuals who are healthy and reside in a community. There are many ways to improve the public health of an area. One of these is through the implementation of policies that encourage physical activity and discourage unhealthy lifestyle practices. Many areas have adopted similar approaches such as promoting a “quit smoking” program, promoting the consumption of low-fat foods, and encouraging the participation of low or no-calorie beverages in the diet. Such measures can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Some of these measures have been found to be more effective than others in preventing certain diseases and promoting healthy individual behavior. In addition, the relation between psychological health and bodily health has been studied intensively. The current theory on the relation states that people who are healthy are happier and healthier and those who are unhealthy are unhappy and have low levels of wellbeing. According to this dimension of health, people who are happy and flourishing have higher self-esteem and higher mental health, while those who are unhappy and have low levels of social goodness have lower self-esteem and lower mental health. The dimensions of wellness therefore correlate with each other and are positively correlated with health, wealth, happiness and longevity. Another dimension that correlates with both health services utilization and individual behavior is community health. This dimension focuses on the determinants of health among the different social factors of an area. For example, the level of trust and the level of social capital are determined by the social factors in the area. Trust is important in terms of regulating the production of goods and services and the ability of individuals to act accordingly when they need help from a government agency such as the police force or the fire department. Social capital is related to the standard of living in the area, and its importance is also dependent on the amount of trust and community involvement. Health service utilization is influenced by a number of social factors. One of these is the type of education received. Children whose parents receive better educational levels tend to have lower health risks. Also, it has been found that the physical environment of a place affects the health of an individual. For instance, a place surrounded by concrete walls, well-ventilated spaces and non-natural light tends to cause sickness and disability.

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