Public Health and Wellness
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a condition that “is maintained through proper food intake, appropriate physical activities, and proper attention to hygiene and preventive care.” A wide variety of terms are used for health; however, the best definition is to say that health is “the balance of healthy and unhealthy components in the body.” Proper nutrition and regular exercise are the cornerstone of good health. Proper health includes a balanced diet, regular activity, and resting when the body needs rest.
Mental health is an umbrella term for a variety of psychological conditions, which include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and personality disorders. Health and disease burden the mind and emotional health, or self-esteem, also play an important role in health and disease status. It can be seen that health affects the whole body, including the mind, emotions, and physical health. Mental health can be affected by the physical aspects of life such as the existence and presence of diseases, emotional stress, and the quality and quantity of sleep, among other factors.
People live longer, healthier lives when they engage in a combination of healthy habits, exercise regularly, watch what they eat, and monitor their emotional and physical wellness. In some cases, people with physical illnesses are treated before they become too ill to survive, while some with mental illness are not properly diagnosed and treated. In addition, many individuals do not get treatment for their physical illnesses because of lack of awareness regarding physical illness and their link to emotional illness. The common theme in the above paragraph is the link between physical illness and emotional illness.
The key elements of overall health are wellness, health, vitality, balance, and resilience. These components can be viewed on a seven-dimensional scale called the axis of wellness. There are seven dimensions of wellness and they are: physical (physical condition), mental (mind state), social (interpersonal relationships), spiritual (breath and spirit), athletic (athletic ability), and ecological (effects of living environments). When an individual meets the criteria for each of the seven dimensions of wellness, they are considered to have attained wellness.
Research has shown that those who have good health and are resilient can avoid suffering from the impact of sickness on their lifestyle, but they may not be able to avoid the occurrence of illness or their recurrence. The existence of both poor health and good health is a complex phenomenon that links psychological and environmental factors. Researchers have found that physical illness, especially inflammation, plays a significant role in the relationship between systemic illness and wellness, but the presence of psychological and environmental factors may also play a part. The presence of both poor health and good health is associated with increased risk factors for chronic illnesses and physical disorders, such as: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, infections, stroke, and cancer.
Public health and physical wellness go hand in hand. Many individuals lead sedentary lifestyles and are unaware of the physical risks that are faced daily. These individuals can take active steps to improve health by participating in a community wellness program, starting a walking program, or enrolling in a class that provides exercise guidance and instruction. Individuals should also educate themselves about the warning signs of heart disease and diabetes and the importance of eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. As awareness of the interconnectedness of physical and mental health becomes more widespread, individuals will likely see a positive correlation between these two facets and their overall quality of life. Improved public health and physical wellness will likely result in a decreased rate of both preventable and treatable diseases and conditions and improved quality of life for all.