The Different Definitions of Health


Unlike other dimensions of wellness, health is not simply the absence of disease. It can also be defined in terms of function and the risk of imminent disease. Health measurements are found in clinical medicine textbooks and tables of reference values. Most health examinations include a series of tests, some of which are more descriptive than quantitative. They can also reveal the presence of disease in otherwise healthy people. However, there are some important distinctions to make about health. Read on to learn more about these differences.

What makes people healthy? Despite the complex interplay of social, environmental, and physical factors, health is largely determined by an individual’s lifestyle. Clean air and water, adequate housing, and safe roads and communities all contribute to good health. In contrast, the environment has a profound impact on our health. During the 1950s, three of the leading causes of death were heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Today, these three causes are far from the top three.

Today, three distinct definitions of health are available. Health is defined as the absence of disease and the ability to meet daily demands. The third definition defines health as the state of balance within an individual as well as in the physical and social environment. A healthy individual is active in development, utilizes health services judiciously, and enjoys a high quality of life. In addition to these three definitions, there are countless other ways to define health.

A medical model of health defines health as complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. However, the biopsychosocial model of health combines the psychosocial, physiological, and environmental aspects of health. The WHO also recognizes that health is a human right. This model is counterproductive, failing to take into account the realities of chronic illness and disability, and contributes to over-medicalisation in society. While ‘complete health’ is a desirable goal, it is not achievable for most people.

Value-based health care is an important part of the healthcare delivery process, and it should be considered when choosing a health insurance plan. Although the monthly premium is the primary cost, other costs – sometimes known as out-of-pocket costs – can significantly impact total health care spending. The out-of-pocket maximum (OOP) is a limitation set by the insurance company on how much you will need to pay for covered services. Once this limit is met, the insurance company pays 100% of the cost.

While it is imperative to focus on the long-term financial viability of a health care organization, clinging to the status quo will lead to rapid demise. In other words, maintaining current cost structures and prices is unsustainable. Only the organizations that learn how to master the value agenda will thrive. And if they can master this agenda, they will enjoy financial viability and the respect of their subscribers. For those that have made the move to value-driven care, it’s time to embrace the shift.