Public Health, Policy, and Well-Being
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. A number of definitions have also been used over the years for various applications. These can include physiological, psychiatric and psychosocial. In the United States, the National Health Information Center defines health as “the quality of life that people experience” and says that “health is the source of happiness”. In addition to these broad definitions, health is affected by individual perceptions of health and their relation to medical conditions.
A number of public policies and laws have been designed to promote good health. For example, the ill disease concept under the Public Health Service Act is designed to encourage people to lead healthy lives and take preventative measures. The National Institute of Health defines health as “the total physical, emotional and social well being of an individual.” By contrast, the perspective of the medical community is to maintain good health and preserve health at any cost. The third definition of health is the ability to tolerate common diseases, a concept that encompasses all illness and disability and includes mental illnesses.
The ability to accommodate common illnesses and disability is influenced both by natural selection and by sociocultural factors. It is therefore natural for the human population to strive to maintain healthy lifestyles even when they are confronted with major health problems such as chronic diseases or disabilities. However, a strong link has been established between socioeconomic status and the control of disease.
Socioeconomic status is measured using several variables. One variable considered is the general health status of the person. The other two variables considered are the level of psychological distress in the person and his or her history of chronic diseases. Both these variables have significant association with the levels of physical activity and healthy diet that people carry out.
Health education campaigns have been successful in changing the public’s attitude towards chronic diseases. In fact, these campaigns helped reduce the percentage of people who are living with disability due to poor medical care. This shows that healthy diets and regular physical activity play a key role in reducing the risk of developing serious health problems like disability. Another promising area of medical care research is the relationship between poverty and health problems. Studies have shown that the quality of life of people living in poor conditions is much lower than those of people in rich conditions.
There is a need to address the issue of poverty as it directly affects the well-being of a population. By making better use of public health services and promoting healthy diet, active lifestyles can be made more popular among the masses. More people are aware of the importance of healthy lifestyles. As a result, they are willing to spend their money on health care products and seek medical attention when necessary. In fact, these changes have significantly improved the quality of life for millions of people living in urban slums.