Sunday, October 12, 2008


“Health” is one of those terms which most people find it difficult to define although they are confident of its meaning. Therefore,many definition of health have been offered from time,including the following :

a. “the condition of being sound in the body,mind or spirit,especially freedom from physical disease or pain” (Webster);

b. “soundness of body or mind;that condition in which its functions are duly and efficiently discharged” (oxford English dictionary);

c. “a condition or quality of the human organism expressing the adequate functioning of the organism in given conditions, genetic and environmental” ( 8 ):

d. “a modus vivendi enabling imperfect men to achieve a rewarding and not too painful existence while they cope with an imperfect world” ( 9 ):

e. “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 up on it but an active response of body forces working toward readjustment” ( perkins ).


The WHO definition of health is not an “operational” definition, i.e. , it does not lend itself to direct measurement. Studies of epidemiology of health have been hampered because of our inability to measure health and well- being directly. In this connection an “operational definition” has been devised by a WHO study group ( 8 ).
In this definition , the concept of health is viewed as being of two orders. In a broad sense, health can be seen as “a condition or quality of the human organism expressing the adequate functioning of the organism in given conditions, genetic or environmental”.

In a narrow sense- one more useful for measuring purposes – health means : ( a ) there is no obvious evidence of disease, and that a person is functioning normally, i. e., conforming with in normal limits of variation to the standards of health criteria generally accepted for ones age, sex, community, and geographic region: and ( b ) the several organs of the body are functioning adequately in themselves and in relation to one another, which implies a kind of equilibrium or homeostasis – a condition relatively stable but which may vary as human beings adapt to internal and external stimuli.


In recent years, we have acquired a new philosophy of health, which may be stated as below:
Health is fundamental human right
health is the essence of productive life, and not the result of ever expenditure on medical care
health is intersectoral
health is an integral part of development
health is central to the concept of quality of life
health involves individuals, state and international responsibility
health and its maintenance is a major social investment
health is world – wide social goal

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