Health is a condition of mental, physical and emotional well-being where infirmity and disease are absent. A number of definitions have been use for such purposes over the years. The definition of health has changed with the passage of time and today it has become a catch all term to mean well being. Many people consider it as the key to life and live happily. It implies well-Being as opposed to morbidity or immorality.
There are many factors that contribute to well-being and they are natural, behavioral, biological, social and environmental factors. Natural Factors include genetic predisposition towards illnesses and diseases, the existence of natural environments, and the quality of life style and living practices of an individual. These natural factors contribute to good health. On the other hand, these factors also affect the incidence and effect of disease.
Behavioral Factors include the way people perceive themselves, their health, the control they have over their health, their relationships, and their lifestyle. The definition of healthy behavior is an enduring pattern of behavior manifested through experience, which meets the needs and expectations of others. This behavior is not based on any permanent trait but is a temporary performance based on circumstances. It results in satisfaction and enhances the self esteem. Healthy behaviors can be learned and developed.
Biological Factors include the presence of genes and physiological abnormalities which could help explain differences in health between individuals. These could help explain the differences in health and physical disabilities between groups. Epistasis or environmental factors like poverty, urbanicity, sex, ethnicity could help explain the discrepancies between socioeconomic status and health. Poor economic stability and lack of social contacts could help explain the differences in physical health and disability.
Natural environmental factors like air, water, sunshine, and food availability could contribute to the disparity between socioeconomic status and health. Lack of physical activity and poor nutritional intake could contribute to the differences between socioeconomic status and health. Educational attainment, the availability of nutritious foods in the local market, and the duration of time spent in education, all these factors could affect health. The use of antibiotics, the frequency and amount of physical contact with pets, the presence of industrial chemicals in domestic surroundings, and the proximity of institutions for healthcare and cleanliness could also have a significant influence on the health disparities.
The definition of disease has been a source of controversy since the beginnings of modern medical science. Disease was thought to be a purely physical condition caused by a deficiency of some essential substance. Modern thinking on the disease concept has evolved and now the disease is seen as a complex biological process. The definition of disease helps us identify specific patterns of behaviours that might help in identifying the cause and prevention of a disease. The absence of a certain element or a combination of these elements could indicate the presence of a disease but this can be ruled out unless proper tests are conducted.