What Makes Us Healthy?


There are many different aspects of health. When thinking of health, we tend to immediately think of our physical/ biological health. What really is health? Health is defined as “the state of being free from illness or injury.” However, we know this is just one piece of the pie. There is our mental health, social health, environmental well-being—and all these play a role on our definition of healthy.

The World Health Organization defines health as being a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of ideas or infirmity.”

It seems like this definition continues to evolve as our understanding of overall health and wellness evolves.

According to new research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Americans determine what makes us healthy in widely different ways.

Well, this may seems obvious that people would differ on what makes us sick, it is interesting to the various factors people contributed.

Participants in the study were asked to rank 14 causes of poor health. Interestingly enough, people named poor working conditions, lack of education and poor social supports popular among the list. Other popular answers that contributes to poor heath was inaccessibility to high-quality medical care, personal behavior, viruses/bacteria, stress and pollution.

The findings of what people believe makes us healthy could show how our attitudes toward health continues to change. So NPR decided to conduct a similar study, which found that people’s health concerns varied based on their race and income.

African Americans commonly reported low income as a major factor for poor health. Hispanic participants reported poor working conditions a health concern 15 percent more than white participants.

Overall, the majority of participants reported that they feel they have control over their health.

Do you feel like you have control over your health? What obstacles do you face whether its income, working conditions, or social support, etc.? How do you define health?

[PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Howie/Flickr]


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