Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the condition of being fit and well”. A number of definitions have also been applied to the concept over the years. For a definition that encompasses the most widely-accepted concepts of health, one must consider what the word ‘wellness’ means. According to Merriam Webster, the meaning of health is: “the quality of being able to perform the ordinary functions of life”.
In order to appreciate the concepts of health and its importance in modern society, it is important to consider its definition in the context of the ideas of hygiene and cleanliness. As public health becomes more important, definitions are increasingly drawn from actual use of the concept to specify the level of health with reference to the behaviors and practices that produce good health. For instance, a definition of health that defines good health as having a low incidence of serious infectious diseases, like cholera and diarrhea, or lower incidences of death due to heart disease, cancer, and other terminal diseases emphasizes the concepts of hygiene and cleanliness. These definitions are important to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.
The promotion of physical activity helps to reduce the occurrence of both infectious and immune diseases and physical disorders. Moreover, exercise has been proven to be a powerful modulator of psychological well-being, reducing both morbidity and mortality. It is important to note that public health and physical education do not usually complement each other; they often fail to interact. However, they complement each other by creating a healthier society where everyone has access to healthy foods, regular physical activity, and adequate mental health.
The idea of health involves a comprehensive approach to preventive care, treatment of disease, and prevention of conditions that may develop into serious health problems. Prevention remains the primary aim of health promotion and control measures. This can be done through a combination of diet, exercise, and drug use. A healthy diet improves health by reducing the intake of fat and carbohydrates, increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and decreasing the consumption of saturated fats, salt, and sugar. In exercise, physical activity helps to improve circulation and decrease body weight. Furthermore, drug use prevents development of conditions that require ongoing health maintenance, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, while alcohol abuse results in increased mortality.
The need for improved public awareness of health and physical fitness is particularly evident in the United States, where there are many significant health disparities between racial/ethnic groups, socio-economic class, and age. To reduce health disparities, health education programs must reach all segments of the population and must include training for teachers, parents, and youth in nutrition and physical fitness. There is a strong connection between poor nutritional status and poor health outcomes, and the practice of eating healthily promotes good health. For example, the prevalence of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes is strongly related to social class, as lower class children are more likely to become obese and have diabetes. Similarly, urban/rural differences in health status may account for the greater rates of heart disease, hypertension, and other chronic conditions among lower class whites. Programs promoting balanced nutrition and regular exercise to encourage people of color and other underserved groups to follow healthy eating habits.
In addition to encouraging good health and preventing the occurrence of costly medical problems, there are other strategies for reducing health disparities. Prevention is better than treatment, as the best prevention measure is to prevent illness in the first place. Community-based programs promoting physical activity, healthy diet, and mental health are also important for maintaining a healthy population. If health care providers, educators, policy makers, and society at large to understand and effectively address health equity issues, they can prevent the transmission of disease, develop better ways to care for those who already have diseases, promote recovery, and ensure that current trends don’t aggravate health disparities.