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Health

Health

Overview

Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s, it is the general condition of a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

, injury
Injury
-By cause:*Traumatic injury, a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident*Other injuries from external physical causes, such as radiation injury, burn injury or frostbite*Injury from infection...

 or pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 (as in “good health” or “healthy”). The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Although this definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as having a lack of operational value and the problem created by use of the word "complete", it remains the most enduring.
Discussion
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Quotations

The best six doctors anywhereAnd no one can deny itAre sunshine, water, rest, and airExercise and diet.These six will gladly you attendIf only you are willingYour mind they'll easeYour will they'll mendAnd charge you not a shilling.

Anonymous nursery rhyme set to the tune of "Yankee Doodle", quoted in "The Health Club" in School Life, Vol. IV (January - June 1920), p. 17

I am pretty sure that, if you will be quite honest, you will admit that a good rousing sneeze, one that tears open your collar and throws your hair into your eyes, is really one of life's sensational pleasures.

Robert Benchley, in "Hiccoughing Makes Us Fat" in No Poems: or Around the World Backwards and Sideways (1932)

I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.

Samuel Butler, in The Way of All Flesh (1903)

Thank Him for health. Consecrate it as His trust to innocent enjoyment, manly effort, social usefulness, and preparation for an honorable and holy career.

William Ellery Channing, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 299.

Tous les jours, à tous points de vue, je vais de mieux en mieux.

Day by day, in every way, I'm getting better and better.

If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don't actually live longer; it just seems longer.

Clement Freud|Clement Freud, as quoted in The Observer (27 December 1964)

If you start to think about your physical or moral condition, you usually find that you are sick.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Proverbs in Prose (1819)

Christ's gospel could never have been delivered by one who was diseased.

John McClellan Holmes, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 299.

If you wish to keep as well as possible, the less you think about your health the better.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Over the Teacups (1891)

How sickness enlarges the dimension of a man's self to himself!

Charles Lamb, in Last Essays of Elia (1833)
Encyclopedia

Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s, it is the general condition of a person
Person
A person is a human being, or an entity that has certain capacities or attributes strongly associated with being human , for example in a particular moral or legal context...

's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness
Illness
Illness is a state of poor health. Illness is sometimes considered another word for disease. Others maintain that fine distinctions exist...

, injury
Injury
-By cause:*Traumatic injury, a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident*Other injuries from external physical causes, such as radiation injury, burn injury or frostbite*Injury from infection...

 or pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 (as in “good health” or “healthy”). The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Although this definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as having a lack of operational value and the problem created by use of the word "complete", it remains the most enduring. Classification systems such as the WHO Family of International Classifications, including the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, also known as ICF, is a classification of the health components of functioning and disability....

 (ICF) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), are commonly used to define and measure the components of health.

The maintenance and promotion of health is achieved through different combination of physical, mental
Mental health
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and...

, and social well-being, together sometimes referred to as the “health triangle”. The WHO's 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion
The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion is the name of an international agreement signed at the First International Conference on Health Promotion, organized by the World Health Organization and held in Ottawa, Canada, in November 1986...

furthered that health is not just a state, but also "a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities."

Systematic activities to prevent or cure health problems and promote good health in humans are delivered by health care provider
Health care provider
A health care provider is an individual or an institution that provides preventive, curative, promotional or rehabilitative health care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities....

s. Applications with regard to animal health are covered by the veterinary sciences
Veterinary medicine
Veterinary Medicine is the branch of science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, disorder and injury in non-human animals...

. The term "healthy" is also widely used in the context of many types of non-living organizations and their impacts for the benefit of humans, such as in the sense of healthy communities
Healthy community design
Healthy community design is planning and designing communities that make it easier for people to live healthy lives. Healthy community design offers important benefits:...

, healthy cities
Healthy city
Healthy city is a term used in public health and urban design to stress the impact of policy on human health. Its modern form derives from a World Health Organization initiative on Healthy Cities and Villages in 1986, but has a history dating back to the mid 19th century...

 or healthy environments. In addition to health care interventions and a person's surroundings, a number of other factors are known to influence the health status of individuals, including their background, lifestyle, and economic and social conditions; these are referred to as "determinants of health".

Determinants of health


Generally, the context in which an individual lives is of great importance on health status and quality of life. It is increasingly recognized that health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of health science, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyle choices of the individual and society. According to the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, the main determinants of health include the social and economic environment, the physical environment, and the person's individual characteristics and behaviors.

More specifically, key factors that have been found to influence whether people are healthy or unhealthy include:

  • Income and social status
    Social status
    In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society . It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group, for example son or daughter, playmate, pupil, etc....

  • Social support networks
  • Education
    Education
    Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

     and literacy
    Literacy
    Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

  • Employment/working conditions
  • Social environments
  • Physical environments
    Environment (biophysical)
    The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...


  • Personal health practices and coping skills
  • Healthy child development
    Child development
    Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist theories....

  • Biology
    Human biology
    Human Biology is an interdisciplinary area of study that examines humans through the influences and interplay of many diverse fields such as genetics, evolution, physiology, epidemiology, ecology, nutrition, population genetics and sociocultural influences. It is closely related to...

     and genetics
    Genetics
    Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

  • Health care services
  • Gender
    Gender
    Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

  • Culture
    Culture
    Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...


An increasing number of studies and reports from different organizations and contexts examine the linkages between health and different factors, including lifestyles, environments, health care organization
Health care system
A health care system is the organization of people, institutions, and resources to deliver health care services to meet the health needs of target populations....

, and health policy - such as the 1974 Lalonde report
LaLonde report
The Lalonde Report is a 1974 report produced in Canada formally titled A new perspective on the health of Canadians. It proposed the concept of the "health field", identifying two main health-related objectives: the health care system; and prevention of health problems and promotion of good health...

 from Canada; the Alameda County Study
Alameda County Study
The Alameda County Study is a study of certain residents of Alameda County, California which examines the relationship between lifestyle and health. In their examination of the collected data, D...

 in California; and the series of World Health Report
World Health Report
The World Health Report is a series of reports produced regularly by the World Health Organization . First published in 1995, the World Health Report is WHO's leading publication...

s of the World Health Organization, which focuses on global health
Global health
Global health is the health of populations in a global context and transcends the perspectives and concerns of individual nations. Health problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact, are often emphasized...

 issues including access to health care and improving public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 outcomes, especially in developing countries.

The concept of the "health field", as distinct from medical care
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, emerged from the Lalonde report from Canada. The report identified three interdependent fields as key determinants of an individual's health. These are:
  • Lifestyle: the aggregation of personal decisions (i.e. over which the individual has control) that can be said to contribute to, or cause, illness or death;
  • Environmental: all matters related to health external to the human body
    Human body
    The human body is the entire structure of a human organism, and consists of a head, neck, torso, two arms and two legs.By the time the human reaches adulthood, the body consists of close to 100 trillion cells, the basic unit of life...

    , and over which the individual has little or no control;
  • Biomedical: all aspects of health, physical and mental, developed within the human body as influenced by genetic make-up.


Focusing more on lifestyle issues and their relationships with functional health, data from the Alameda County Study suggested that people can improve their health via exercise, enough sleep
Sleep
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than...

, maintaining a healthy body weight
Body weight
The term body weight is used in daily English speech as well as in the contexts of biological and medical sciences to describe the mass of an organism's body. Body weight is measured in kilograms throughout the world, although in some countries it is still measured in pounds or stones and pounds...

, limiting alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 use, and avoiding smoking
Smoking
Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco or cannabis, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. This is primarily practised as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them...

. The ability to adapt and to self manage have been suggested as core components of human health.

The environment is often cited as an important factor influencing the health status of individuals. This includes characteristics of the natural environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

, the built environment
Built environment
The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply or energy networks.The built...

, and the social environment
Social environment
The social environment of an individual, also called social context or milieu, is the culture that s/he was educated or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom the person interacts....

. Factors such as clean water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and air, adequate housing
House
A house is a building or structure that has the ability to be occupied for dwelling by human beings or other creatures. The term house includes many kinds of different dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to free standing individual structures...

, and safe communities and roads all have been found to contribute to good health, especially the health of infants and children. Some studies have shown that a lack of neighborhood recreational spaces including natural environment leads to lower levels of personal satisfaction and higher levels of obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

, linked to lower overall health and well being. This suggests the positive health benefits of natural space in urban neighborhoods should be taken into account in public policy
Public policy
Public policy as government action is generally the principled guide to action taken by the administrative or executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and...

 and land use.

Genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, or inherited traits from parents, also play a role in determining the health status of individuals and populations. This can encompass both the predisposition
Genetic predisposition
A genetic predisposition is a genetic affectation which influences the phenotype of an individual organism within a species or population but by definition that phenotype can also be modified by the environmental conditions. In the rest of the population, conditions cannot have that effect...

 to certain diseases and health conditions, as well as the habits and behaviors individuals develop through the lifestyle of their families. For example, genetics may play a role in the manner in which people cope with stress
Stress (biology)
Stress is a term in psychology and biology, borrowed from physics and engineering and first used in the biological context in the 1930s, which has in more recent decades become commonly used in popular parlance...

, either mental, emotional or physical. (One difficulty in this is the debate
Nature versus nurture
The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities versus personal experiences The nature versus nurture debate concerns the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities ("nature," i.e. nativism, or innatism) versus personal experiences...

 over the relative strengths of genetics and other factors; interactions between genetics and environment may be of particular importance.)

Maintaining health


Achieving and maintaining health is an ongoing process, shaped by both the evolution of health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 knowledge and practices, as well as personal strategies and organized interventions for staying healthy.

Role of science in health


Health science is the branch of science focused on health. There are two main approaches to health science: the study and research
Research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

 of the body
Body
With regard to living things, a body is the physical body of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death...

 and health-related issues to understand how humans (and animals) function; and the application of that knowledge to improve health and to prevent and cure disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

s and other physical and mental impairments. The science builds on many sub fields, including biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, biochemistry
Biochemistry
Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes...

, physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, epidemiology
Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

, pharmacology
Pharmacology
Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function...

, medical sociology
Medical sociology
Medical sociology is the sociological analysis of medical organizations and institutions; the production of knowledges and selection of methods, the actions and interactions of healthcare professionals, and the social or cultural effects of medical practice...

, and others. Applied health sciences endeavor to better understand and improve human health through applications in areas such as health education
Health education
Health education is the profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health...

, biomedical engineering
Biomedical engineering
Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to improve...

, biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

 and public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

.

Organized interventions to improve health based on the principles and procedures developed through the health sciences are delivered among practitioners trained in medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, nursing
Nursing
Nursing is a healthcare profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from conception to death....

, nutrition
Nutrition
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

, pharmacy
Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

, social work
Social work
Social Work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community by intervening through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, and teaching on behalf of those afflicted with poverty or any real or...

, psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, physical therapy
Physical therapy
Physical therapy , often abbreviated PT, is a health care profession. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment/intervention,and rehabilitation...

 and other health care professions
Health care provider
A health care provider is an individual or an institution that provides preventive, curative, promotional or rehabilitative health care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities....

. Clinical practitioners focus mainly on the health of individuals, while public health practitioners consider the overall health of communities and populations. Workplace wellness
Workplace wellness
Workplace wellness is a program offered by some employers as a combination of educational, organizational, and environmental activities designed to support behavior conducive to the health of employees in a business and their families...

 programs are increasingly adopted by companies for their value in improving the health and well-being of their employees, as are school health services
School health services
School health services are services from medical, teaching and other professionals applied in or out of school to improve the health and well-being of children and in some cases whole families...

 to improve the health and well-being of children.

Role of public health


Public health has been described as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals." It is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health
Population health
Population health has been defined as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.” It is an approach to health that aims to improve the health of an entire population. One major step in achieving this aim is to reduce health...

 analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

). Public health has many sub-fields, but typically includes the interdisciplinary categories of epidemiology
Epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

, biostatistics
Biostatistics
Biostatistics is the application of statistics to a wide range of topics in biology...

 and health services. Environmental health
Environmental health
Environmental health is the branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health...

, community health
Community health
Community health, a field of public health, is a discipline that concerns itself with the study and betterment of the health characteristics of biological communities. While the term community can be broadly defined, community health tends to focus on geographic areas rather than people with shared...

, behavioral health
Behavioral health
In psychology behavioral health, as a general concept, refers to the reciprocal relationship between human behavior, individually or socially, and the well-being of the body, mind, and spirit, whether the latter are considered individually or as an integrated whole...

, and occupational health, are also important areas of public health.

The focus of public health interventions is to prevent and manage diseases, injuries and other health conditions through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy behaviors
Health promotion
Health promotion has been defined by the World Health Organization's 2005 Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World as "the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health"...

, communities
Healthy community design
Healthy community design is planning and designing communities that make it easier for people to live healthy lives. Healthy community design offers important benefits:...

, and (in aspects relevant to human health) environments
Environmental protection
Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the environment, on individual, organizational or governmental level, for the benefit of the natural environment and humans. Due to the pressures of population and our technology the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently...

. Its aim is preventing from happening or re-occurring health problems by implementing educational programs
Health education
Health education is the profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health...

, developing policies, administering services, and conducting research
Research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...

. In many cases, treating a disease or controlling a pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

 can be vital to preventing it in others, such as during an outbreak
Outbreak
Outbreak is a term used in epidemiology to describe an occurrence of disease greater than would otherwise be expected at a particular time and place. It may affect a small and localized group or impact upon thousands of people across an entire continent. Two linked cases of a rare infectious...

. Vaccination
Vaccination
Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material to stimulate the immune system of an individual to develop adaptive immunity to a disease. Vaccines can prevent or ameliorate the effects of infection by many pathogens...

 programs and distribution of condom
Condom
A condom is a barrier device most commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases . It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner...

s to prevent the spread of communicable diseases are examples of common preventive public health measures, as are educational campaigns to promote vaccination and the use of condoms (including overcoming resistance to such).

Public health also takes various actions to limit the health disparities between different areas of the country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 and, in some cases, the continent
Continent
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

 or world
World
World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth....

. One issue is the access of individuals and communities to health care, in terms of financial, geographical or sociocultural constraints in access to and use of services. Applications of the public health system include areas of maternal
Maternal health
Maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. It encompasses the health care dimensions of family planning, preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care in order to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.Preconception care can include...

 and child health, health services administration, emergency response, and prevention and control of infectious
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

 and chronic diseases.

The great positive impact of public health programs is widely acknowledged. Due in part to the policies and actions developed through public health, the 20th century registered a decrease of the mortality rates in infants and child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

ren and a continual increase in life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 in most parts of the world. For example, it is estimated that the life expectancy has increased for Americans by thirty years since 1900, and worldwide by six years since 1990.

Self care strategies


Personal health depends partially on the active, passive, and assisted cues people observe and adopt about their own health. These include personal actions for preventing or minimizing the effects of a disease, usually a chronic condition, through integrative care
Disease management (health)
Disease management is defined as "a system of coordinated health care interventions and communications for populations with conditions in which patient self-care efforts are significant." For people who can access health care practitioners or peer support it is the process whereby persons with...

. They also include personal hygiene
Hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

 practices to prevent infection and illness, such as bathing
Bathing
Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....

 and washing hands with soap; brushing and flossing teeth
Oral hygiene
Teeth cleaning is part of oral hygiene and involves the removal of dental plaque from teeth with the intention of preventing cavities , gingivitis, and periodontal disease. People routinely clean their own teeth by brushing and interdental cleaning, and dental hygienists can remove hardened...

; storing, preparing and handling food safely
Food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....

; and many others. The information gleaned from personal observations of daily living
Observations of Daily Living
Observations of Daily Living are cues that people attend to in the course of their everyday life, that inform them about their health.ODLs are different from signs, symptoms, and clinical indicators in that they are defined by the patient, and are not necessarily directly mapped to biomedical...

 - such as about sleep patterns, exercise behavior, nutritional intake, and environmental features - may be used to inform personal decisions and actions (e.g., "I feel tired in the morning so I am going to try sleeping on a different pillow"), as well as clinical decisions and treatment plans (e.g., a patient who notices his or her shoes are tighter than usual may be having exacerbation of left-sided heart failure, and may require diuretic medication to reduce fluid overload).

Personal health also depends partially on the social structure of a person's life. The maintenance of strong social relation
Social relation
In social science, a social relation or social interaction refers to a relationship between two , three or more individuals . Social relations, derived from individual agency, form the basis of the social structure. To this extent social relations are always the basic object of analysis for social...

ships, volunteering
Volunteering
Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but people also volunteer for their own skill development, to meet others, to make contacts for possible employment, to have fun, and a variety of other reasons that could be...

, and other social activities have been linked to positive mental health and even increased longevity. One American study among seniors
Old age
Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle...

 over age 70 found that frequent volunteering was associated with reduced risk of dying compared with older persons who did not volunteer, regardless of physical health status. Another study from Singapore reported that volunteering retirees had significantly better cognitive performance
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

 scores, fewer depressive symptoms
Mood disorder
Mood disorder is the term designating a group of diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classification system where a disturbance in the person's mood is hypothesized to be the main underlying feature...

, and better mental well-being and life satisfaction than non-volunteering retirees.

Prolonged psychological stress may negatively impact health, and has been cited as a factor in cognitive impairment with aging, depressive illness, and expression of disease. Stress management
Stress management
Stress management is the alteration of stress and especially chronic stress often for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.Stress produces numerous symptoms which vary according to persons, situations, and severity. These can include physical health decline as well as depression. According...

 is the application of methods to either reduce stress or increase tolerance to stress. Relaxation technique
Relaxation technique
A relaxation technique is any method, process, procedure, or activity that helps a person to relax; to attain a state of increased calmness; or otherwise reduce levels of anxiety, stress or anger...

s are physical methods used to relieve stress. Psychological methods include cognitive therapy
Cognitive therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach: a talking therapy. CBT aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure in the present...

, meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, and positive thinking
Positive Thinking
Positive Thinking... or Positive Thinking may refer to one of two songs:*Positive Thinking *Positive Thinking...

 which work by reducing response to stress. Improving relevant skills, such as problem solving
Problem solving
Problem solving is a mental process and is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping. Consideredthe most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of...

 and time management
Time management
Time management is the act or process of exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity. Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific...

 skills, reduces uncertainty and builds confidence, which also reduces the reaction to stress-causing situations where those skills are applicable.

See also



  • Global burden of disease
    Global burden of disease
    The global burden of disease is a comprehensive regional and global assessment of mortality and disability from 107 diseases and injuries and ten risk factors. The GBD is assessed using the GBD study by the World Health Organization , and is an example of an evidence-based input to public health...

  • Health care
    Health care
    Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

  • Health care provider
    Health care provider
    A health care provider is an individual or an institution that provides preventive, curative, promotional or rehabilitative health care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities....

    s
  • Health education
    Health education
    Health education is the profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health...

  • Health policy
  • Health systems
  • Health workforce
  • Primary health care
    Primary health care
    Primary health care, often abbreviated as “PHC”, has been defined as "essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost...

  • History of medicine
    History of medicine
    All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, astral influence, or the will of the gods...

  • Nutrition
    Nutrition
    Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

  • One Health
    One Health
    One Health has been defined as "the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines-working locally, nationally, and globally – to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment."-Background:...

  • Vaccine controversy
    Vaccine controversy
    A vaccine controversy is a dispute over the morality, ethics, effectiveness, or safety of vaccinations. Medical and scientific evidence surrounding vaccinations generally demonstrate that the benefits of preventing suffering and death from infectious diseases outweigh rare adverse effects of...


External links