Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and illness are absent. It therefore implies a condition where the person enjoys the right to be healthy and live an active life. It implies two aspects of health, that is to say a condition of the body and mind, and well-being, which are the ability to enjoy the good aspects of life.
In developed countries, health indices are usually based on national health statistics collected at different intervals. Developed countries have made great improvements in health index standards over the last few decades, but the differences between countries still remain prominent. Low levels of physical well-being contribute largely to morbidity and mortality rates. Thus, it is important that health should be given high priority in all efforts to promote good health and delay the effects of aging and prevent death.
Health professionals and researchers have found that poor levels of physical functioning and illness tend to lead to disability and premature death. Illness is not only a risk factor for mortality, but also for many other aspects of quality of life such as education, occupation, work performance, work and living habits. In developing countries, the social and economic consequences of ill-health can be disastrous, leading to poverty, lack of social security, higher healthcare costs and worse health outcomes. These results can be reduced access to health services and improved quality of life through improved nutrition, enhanced physical education, and better work environments. The major impact of ill-health on individuals and families is therefore enormous.
A number of determinants of health status and illness make up the determinants for overall health. While age is by far the most common determinant, there are other important factors. The determinants of health status and illness are: physical inactivity, gender, race, socioeconomic position, body mass index, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, country of origin, and education. Each of these determinants plays an important role in improving the quality of life of the individual. However, the combined effect of these different determinants is greater than the sum of their individually important effects.
To maintain good health, lifestyle choices must be made and followed. Making changes to the lifestyle choices that you have made is more important than making lifestyle choices that just improve your general health. For example, if you smoke, quitting is the most important thing that you can do to improve your health. However, if you do not have a family history of lung cancer or any other kind of major illness, there are less obvious lifestyle choices that you can make to improve your overall health. Such changes may include taking exercise, losing weight through diet and exercise, reducing stress and getting enough sleep.
Poor diet and lack of exercise are likely to be problems for most people, irrespective of their location and social status. In the United States and other developed countries, there are clear links between physical activity and the reduction in stress, which is one of the best ways to prevent major illnesses. However, many people still spend too much time on their computers and television, which can lead to all sorts of health problems.