Health practitioners and experts at the World Health Organization agree that “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” Being healthy, therefore, means that one has a perfect balance of all these aspects of life; that his state of fitness not only reigns over his body, but in his mind, heart, and spirit, as well.
Unfortunately, society has significantly influenced people’s mind about the concept of being healthy. Media teaches us that good health is often equated to having a slim figure or a muscular body. Hence, people strive to achieve this even if it means skipping meals or taking in non-prescribed diet pills. These approaches, even with the right objectives, will actually do more bad than good in the body.
Being healthy, as described by health and nutrition experts, is the achievement and maintenance of physical fitness and mental stability. It means absence of physical illness, diseases, and mental distress to help you achieve and maintain an excellent quality of life.
What Influences Our Health?
How do we know then when a person is in good or bad health? The World Health Organization determined three factors that influence the health of an individual, namely: society and economy, physical environment, and the individuals’ personal characteristics and behavior
- Social and economic determinants of health. The society we live in and the economy that govern us can dictate our health. These are the conditions or situations in which we live and work day to day that influence how healthy we can be in a particular social environment. Some of these determinants include social norms and attitudes, type of governance, exposure to crime and violence, occurrences of natural disasters, exposure to mass media and technology, discrimination, public safety, and quality of education. These circumstances are highly influenced by the availability of money and presence of resources in a particular society.
- Environmental determinant of health. The physical environment, or the place where we live, is another determinant that affects our health and the quality of life we have. The factors that help in distinguishing whether you can stay healthy or not in a particular place include the natural environment (including weather, climate change, and presence of plants and animals), architecture, recreational settings, neighborhood, type of food available, exposure to pollutants and toxic substances, transportation options, and residential segregation habits.
- Physical and behavioral determinant of health. Lastly, our own individual characteristics and behaviors also determine how healthy we can be in a given situation. Typical behaviors that can affect our health include smoking, alcohol use, drug abuse, physical activities, food consumption, oral health behavior, sexual behavior, and sleep patterns. Our health is at our fingertips. What we are and what we normally do greatly affect the quality of our body conditions. Unlike the first two determinants of health which we cannot fully manage, we have control over the behavioral factors. We can decide about being healthy and work on achieving good health if we want.