Defining Health and Well Being

K311     TMA 01

Part 1: Defining health and wellbeing

It may be suggested that health and wellbeing are inextricably linked, that they are interdependent and you can only have a sense of wellbeing if you are feeling healthy
When asked what is meant by the term health some people will default to the medical definition to state that health, or being healthy, means not ill or free from disease, whereas the World health Organisation (WHO) defines health as “A state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”(Earle, 2007. P44). This definition appears to take a more holistic, and social, approach to health but still maintains a small focus on disease.
If a person has a chronic or long standing condition does it mean that they can not feel healthy?
Conditions such as diabetes can be, and are, well managed by many people through medication or diet and lifestyle changes. Notwithstanding the condition many, if not most, people with type 2 diabetes play full, active and productive roles in society with no noticeable impact on day to day life.

When asked what health and wellbeing meant to them, professionals in the healthcare field and ordinary, or lay, people gave a variety of answers with only a few definitions being based on the medical definition of health.
A good work life balance was stated as being important and the ability to live life without restrictions or difficulty.
Financial security is another factor for some which is seen as a prerequisite for an active and full social life based around a good network of family and friends. A positive outlook on life coupled with a sense of humour to take life’s knocks, a good diet and being active are cited as well as a strong religious belief. A lack of mental health issues such as depression or stress leading to peace of mind is important to some as a main constituent of being healthy.

A wide variety of definitions of what it means to have health and...