AO1- The three definitions of health, holistic, positive and negative

Authors Avatar by abiappleowengmailcom (student)


For this part of the unit I am going to be exploring the different and varied definitions of health. I will also give a short report of my completion of the questionnaire I took on what health meant to me as an individual and then give a comprehensive description on the 3 different concepts of health, holistic, positive and negative.

Definitions of Health:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO 1948)

“The extent to which an individual or a group is able to realise aspirations and satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept emphasising social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities” (WHO 1984)

From completing the questionnaire I can understand how the definition of health may vary from person to person depending on their circumstances, such as being on benefits, being disabled and older people. If someone is on benefits their definition of health may vary as they may not be able to afford certain healthy foods in healthy quantities, they may also be suffering physiologically as there emotional wellbeing may be poor due to the absence of purpose that may have previously be found in a job. Another example of when a person’s definition of health could vary is if someone is disabled in some way, this could cause them to define health more physiologically as they are already suffering physically. Older people are more likely to suffer from physical difficulties as so may alter their definition of health to include more of the physiological factors. This shows that health is actually very hard to define as there are many different factors that make up this general term such as physical, emotional, social, mental, societal and spiritual. The definition of health for a single person can also change significantly through a person’s lifetime, as they change physically and as their circumstances change.

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Physical health, is in general the overall effectiveness of how the body functions, Emotional health is the individual’s ability to recognised, express and cope with a range of emotions, such as anger, for example a person who has poor emotional health may struggle to calm down and control their anger. Mental health is strongly linked to emotional health and is the ability to think clearly and coherently. Social health is normally measured the person’s ability to maintain relationships with other people. Spiritual health is connected to the individuals person beliefs, for some this is based in their particular faith or ...

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