Health is a condition of emotional, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. The concepts of health have been developed through the years to reflect aspects that were considered to be desirable. A wide variety of definitions have also been applied to the concept of health over the years. Some of these are from religion (God, Buddha, Allah, or any other godlike being) others from medicine (the prevailing view in industrialized nations), government policies (such as compulsory sterilization for those who have AIDS or some other contagious diseases) and from sociology (social conditions conducive to health). Social scientists have also made contributions to the definition of health through statistical studies that seek to reveal patterns in the distribution of wealth and material possessions as a function of health, poverty, education, race, gender and other social variables.
In today’s view health is associated with the ability to live an active, productive life, even though not being dependent on others for all our needs. A healthy body, mind and spirit encompass aspects of physical, mental, and social well being. Some refer to it as well-being. Others, such as those developed by anthropology, sociology and psychology, consider health as the natural environment that provides a home for individuals. Individuals who live in healthy environments tend to have higher self-esteem, be less lonely, experience greater social harmony, and have a sense of community as compared to those who do not.
Most people associate the concept of health issue with a physical problem. They suffer from a headache, back ache or other physical ailments. However, most people are unaware of the fact that there are many mental health issues that may go unnoticed and untreated. For instance, stress, depression and anxiety are mental health issues that are often overlooked as people focus on only the physical aspect of their problems.
One may not be aware that stress is a health issue in itself. However, there are many symptoms of stress such as constant headaches, lack of sleep, palpitations, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, frequent headaches, and heart palpitations. This can cause serious physical disorders as well as emotional and social disorders. Stress affects people of all ages from child to adult. Stress related illnesses are a major public health concern today because of the high rate of illness experienced by those who are suffering from it. Among the common illnesses caused by stress include depression, ulcers, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, stroke, and anxiety disorders.
Another health issue that is often misunderstood is obesity. Many people perceive obesity as a simple health issue wherein the consumption of more calories equals weight gain. But obesity can also be an indicator of a poor lifestyle. It is necessary to reduce the intake of high calorie foods such as candies, cakes, chocolates, and fried items and replace them with healthier alternatives such as vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. This change will help reduce the risk factors associated with obesity. In addition, health experts recommend adopting a healthy diet and incorporating physical fitness activities into your lifestyle for optimal well-being.
Health problems are not unavoidable but can be prevented or improved by adopting a healthy lifestyle. There are several wellness programs that provide information on ways to maintain good health. A few of these programs are outlined in this booklet that contains a list of diseases that can be prevented by adopting healthy living. These diseases include heart diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, stroke, and other bodily disorders and diseases.