Write down your definition of health before continuing to your research and discussion. How would you define health? We will come back to your answer.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary’s first definition of health is “the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit” (Merriam-Webster, n.d). The World Health Organization (WHO) goes a bit further by defining health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (2014). This definition has expanded since the conception of the WHO’s constitution in 1948. However, The Lalonde Report, written by the Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare of Canada, proposed in 1974 that health should encompass much more. It should include biology (physical, mental, genetic), environment (external things we have little control over), lifestyle (factors we have control over that cause illness), and access to health (quality of that care).
Go back to your definition. Where did your definition fall? Were you closer to the dictionary, WHO, or Lalonde Report’s definition? All are working definitions; there is no wrong answer, but it can make a difference when it comes to care. Our CDC has adopted the definition of the WHO.
Watch the TEDtalk by Michael Katz, “What the US Health care system assumes about you. (Links to an external site.)”
You can join the discussion by responding to one or more of the questions below, or pose your analysis of the topic this week.
While reading the different definitions of health in this introduction and in your research, was there a concept that you had not previously associated with “health”? As a health care professional, how can you help educate others that this is critical to their wellbeing?
Although the CDC has adopted the definition of the WHO, do you feel our health care system is built to support keeping people “healthy”? Why or why not? Be sure you back up anything you say with data, not just an opinion.
Which is your preferred definition of health? How is the U.S. system doing? If you think there are deficits, what do you think we can do to help vulnerable populations catch up?
Unhealthy people are expensive to the health care system and the economy. Research the cost of proactive (preventative) medicine versus reactive medicine.
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