Definitions Of Health

Health Hygiene & Sanitation

Lesson 02 : Definition Of Health And Community Health

Definitions Of Health

  • The condition of being sound in body, mind or spirit especially freedom from physical disease or pain (Webster).
  • Soundness of body or mind, that condition in which its functions are duly and efficiently discharged (Oxford English Dictionary).
  • A condition or quality of the human organism expressing the adequate functioning of the organism in given conditions, genetic and environmental (WHO, 1957)
  • A state of relative equilibrium of body form and function which results from its successful dynamic adjustment to forces tending to disturb it. It is not passive interplay between body substance and forces impinging upon it but an active response of body forces working towards readjustment (Perkins)

WHO has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity”. Recently this statement includes ‘to lead socially and economically productive life’.

Hence, the recent definition of health reads as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity and an ability to lead socially and economically productive life’. However, this definition has been criticized by many. Some argue that health cannot be a ‘state’ instead it is a process of continuous adjustment to changing demands of life and meanings attached to life. It is a dynamic concept. Health definition of WHO is more of idealistic goal than realistic proposition. No one according to WHO definition qualifies to be called as healthy and all are sick.

But this definition is broad and positive in its implications. It sets out the standards of positive health.

  1. Operational Definition Of Health
  2. Positive Health
  3. Health - A Relative Concept
  4. Community Health
Last modified: Monday, 23 April 2012, 5:50 AM