Health and Nutrition

What is health?

There are different ways to define health, health is seen and identified as a number of ways by different individuals. The common description of health is absence of injury, illness and/or disease. This means that the body is functioning as it should and achieving the ideal state of balance between each body’s system. In 1990 a study was done in the United Kingdom where they surveyed over 9,000 people about perspectives of health and here were the results.

As you can see there are all different perspectives on the word and meaning of health, 

So here let’s go through the meanings of each perspective

Health as not ill/diseased means the complete absence of disease in an individual and the good health of an individual despite a certain disease from which they may be suffering.

Health as a reserve is identifying a person’s ability to recover quickly should they fall ill.

Health as physical fitness is identified differently by men and women. Men define it as the ability to do strenuous activities without fatigue and seeing muscle tone, where women see physical fitness as an outward appearance such as being slim and having good skin complexion.

Health as energy and vitality encompasses the overall energy and enthusiasm of an individual to complete various activities on a day to day basis.

Health as social relationships can be seen in different ways depending on age, gender and interests, the older generation identified it as helping others and the enjoyment it brought to them; whereas the younger generation described it as spending time with family.

Health as function refers to an individual’s functioning ability: the functional ability to do things.

Health as psycho-social wellbeing relates to someone’s mental state and the happiness they feel.

Now let’s talk about health dimensions

There are 5 dimensions of heath

Social, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional and Physical health.

Social Health is an individual that’s able to maintain and make interpersonal relationships with others, this involves the upkeep of relationships by behaving appropriately and maintaining socially acceptable standards.

Mental Health is defined as a state of wellbeing, by this means an individual is able to deal with normal stresses in life, works productively and realises their own potential. 

Spiritual Health is fundamental to good health care, spiritual health contributes to the wellbeing of the entire community. This necessarily doesn’t mean religion and prayer, it encompasses aspects such as establishing peace and harmony in an individual’s life and the ability to develop agreement between actions and values.

The dimension of emotional health is being aware of feelings and accepting the stressors in life. This can mean a person’s ability to control their own behaviours and feelings. Good emotional health leads to overall health with success in the workplace and in relationships.

The dimension of physical health there is no set definition more just a number of common ideas. This can be defined as the absence of disease. Some health professionals and individuals see it purely from the physical capabilities.Physical health is the most commonly idealised health dimension. 

What are the concepts and determinants of health?

Determinants are any influences that shape an individuals, communities or populations health, either positively or negatively. 

Examples of determinants are shown in this picture above,

Determinants of health refer to circumstances that are not completely in our control such as environment or circumstantial situations, this can affect an individual positively or negatively. Some determinants can be but are not limited to, genetics, income, education, relationships, residency and community environment. Determinants of health refer to ongoing balance and shaping an individual’s behaviour and lifestyle. That will contribute to and maybe even determine their ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Quick recap on determinants and dimensions so there is no confusion, they are two different models. Dimensions are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social. Determinants are life courses as discussed above. Collectively, these health dimensions provide a full picture of health as a change in any one dimension can potentially affect another.

Amy Mcinerney

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