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Health, according to the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
, is "a state of complete physical,
mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi romantic-action movie * ''Mental'', a 2008 documentary by ...

mental
and social
well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good ''for'' this person, what is in the s ...
and not merely the absence of
disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
and
infirmity A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
".
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
. (2006)
''Constitution of the World Health Organization''
– ''Basic Documents'', Forty-fifth edition, Supplement, October 2006.
A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular
physical exercise Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness Physical fitness is a state of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value ...
and adequate sleep, and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as
smoking Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke is breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly, the substance used is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which have been rolled into ...

smoking
or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to
structural A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sy ...
causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as
genetic disorder A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Men ...
s.


History

The meaning of health has evolved over time. In keeping with the
biomedical Biomedicine (also referred to as Western medicine, mainstream medicine or conventional medicine)
perspective, early definitions of health focused on the theme of the body's ability to function; health was seen as a state of normal function that could be disrupted from time to time by
disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
. An example of such a definition of health is: "a state characterized by anatomic, physiologic, and psychological integrity; ability to perform personally valued family, work, and community roles; ability to deal with
physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physical" (Olivia Newton-John song) *Physical ( ...

physical
,
biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowl ...
,
psychological Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologis ...

psychological
, and
social stress Social stress is stress that stems from one's relationships with others and from the social environment in general. Based on the appraisal theory of emotion, stress arises when a person evaluates a situation as personally relevant and perceives t ...
". Then, in 1948, in a radical departure from previous definitions, the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
(WHO) proposed a definition that aimed higher, linking health to
well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good ''for'' this person, what is in the s ...
, in terms of "physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity". Although this definition was welcomed by some as being innovative, it was also criticized for being vague and excessively broad and was not construed as measurable. For a long time, it was set aside as an impractical ideal, with most discussions of health returning to the practicality of the biomedical model. Just as there was a shift from viewing disease as a state to thinking of it as a process, the same shift happened in definitions of health. Again, the WHO played a leading role when it fostered the development of the health promotion movement in the 1980s. This brought in a new conception of health, not as a state, but in dynamic terms of resiliency, in other words, as "a resource for living". In 1984, WHO revised the definition of health defined it as "the extent to which an individual or group is able to realize 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, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities." Thus, health referred to the ability to maintain
homeostasis In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...
and recover from adverse events. Mental, intellectual, emotional and social health referred to a person's ability to handle stress, to acquire skills, to maintain relationships, all of which form resources for resiliency and
independent living Independent living, as seen by its advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law English law is the comm ...
. This opens up many possibilities for health to be taught, strengthened and learned. Since the late 1970s, the federal Healthy People Program has been a visible component of the United States’ approach to improving population health. In each decade, a new version of Healthy People is issued, featuring updated goals and identifying topic areas and quantifiable objectives for health improvement during the succeeding ten years, with assessment at that point of progress or lack thereof. Progress has been limited to many objectives, leading to concerns about the effectiveness of Healthy People in shaping outcomes in the context of a decentralized and uncoordinated US health system. Healthy People 2020 gives more prominence to health promotion and preventive approaches and adds a substantive focus on the importance of addressing social determinants of health. A new expanded digital interface facilitates use and dissemination rather than bulky printed books as produced in the past. The impact of these changes to Healthy People will be determined in the coming years. Systematic activities to prevent or cure health problems and promote good health in humans are undertaken by
health care provider A health care provider is an individual health professional A health professional (or healthcare professional) may provide health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthca ...
s. Applications with regard to animal health are covered by the veterinary sciences. 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 cities or
healthy environment Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person ...
s. In addition to
health care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuab ...

health care
interventions and a person's surroundings, a number of other factors are known to influence the health status of individuals. These are referred to as the "determinants of health", which include the individual's background, lifestyle, economic status, social conditions and spirituality; Studies have shown that high levels of stress can affect human health. In the first decade of the 21st century, the conceptualization of health as an ability opened the door for self-assessments to become the main indicators to judge the performance of efforts aimed at improving human health. It also created the opportunity for every person to feel healthy, even in the presence of multiple chronic diseases or a terminal condition, and for the re-examination of determinants of health (away from the traditional approach that focuses on the reduction of the prevalence of diseases).


Determinants

In general, the context in which an individual lives is of great importance for both his 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 The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to health sciences: Health sciences – are those sciences which focus on health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also kno ...
, but also through the efforts and intelligent
lifestyle Lifestyle often refers to: * Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives * ''Otium'', ancient Roman concept of a lifestyle * Style of life (german: Lebensstil), dealing with the dynamics of personality Lifestyle may also refer to: Business and ...
choices of the individual and society. According to the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
, the main determinants of health include the social and
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods and Service (economics), services by different a ...
environment, the physical environment, and the person's individual characteristics and behaviors.World Health Organization
''The determinants of health.''
Geneva. Accessed 12 May 2011.
More specifically, key factors that have been found to influence whether people are healthy or unhealthy include the following:Lalonde, Marc (1974)
"''A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians''."
Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services.
* Income and
social status Social status is the level of social value a person is considered to hold. More specifically, it refers to the relative level of respect, honor, assumed competence, and deference accorded to people, groups, and organizations in a society ...
*
Social support Social support is the perception and actuality that one is cared for, has assistance available from other people, and most popularly, that one is part of a supportive social network. These supportive resources can be emotional (e.g., nurturance), i ...
networks *
Education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...
and
literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write in at least one method of writing, an understanding reflected by mainstream dictionaries. Correspondingly, the term ''illiteracy'' is considered to be the inability to read an ...
* Employment/working conditions *
Social environments The social environment, social context, sociocultural context or milieu refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain ...
* Physical environments * Personal health practices and
coping skills Coping means to invest one's own conscious effort, to solve personal and interpersonal problems, in order to try to master, minimize or tolerate stress and conflict.Weiten, W. & Lloyd, M.A. (2008) ''Psychology Applied to Modern Life (9th ed.)''. ...
* Healthy
child development Child development involves the Human development (biology), biological, developmental psychology, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the conclusion of adolescence. Childhood is divided into 3 stages of ...
*
Biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Developmenta ...
and
genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) Though heredity had been observed for millennia, Gregor Mendel, Moravia, Moravian scientist and Augustinian ...

genetics
*
Health care services The healthcare industry (also called the medical industry or health economy) is an aggregation and integration of sectors within the economic system that provides goods and services to treat patients with Curative care, curative, Preventive medicine ...

Health care services
*
Gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Althoug ...

Gender
*
Culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...
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 and
health policy Health policy can be defined as the "decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific healthcare goals within a society".World Health Organization''Health Policy'' accessed 22 March 2011. According to the World Health Org ...
, one specific health policy brought into many countries in recent years was the introduction of the sugar tax. Beverage taxes came into light with increasing concerns about obesity, particularly among youth. Sugar-sweetened beverages have become a target of anti-obesity initiatives with increasing evidence of their link to obesity.– such as the 1974 Lalonde report from Canada; the
Alameda County StudyThe Alameda County Study is a probability study of residents from Alameda County, California which examines the relationship between lifestyle and health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ' ...
in California; and the series of
World Health Report The ''World Health Report'' (WHR) is a series of annual reports produced by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations resp ...
s of the World Health Organization, which focuses on
global health Global health is the health of populations in the global context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems that t ...
issues including access to health care and improving
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of Preventive healthcare, preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), C ...

public health
outcomes, especially in
developing countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...

developing countries
. The concept of the "''health field,''" as distinct from
medical care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Diagnosis is used in many different disciplines ...

medical care
, 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 The human body is the structure of a human being. It is composed of many different types of cells that together create tissues and subsequently organ systems. They ensure homeostasis and the life, viability of the human body. It comprises a ...

human body
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. The maintenance and promotion of health is achieved through different combination of physical,
mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi romantic-action movie * ''Mental'', a 2008 documentary by ...

mental
, and social well-being—a combination sometimes referred to as the ''"health triangle."'' The WHO's 1986 ''
Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion{{short description, International agreement signed at the First International Conference on Health Promotion The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion is the name of an international agreement signed at the First International Conference on Health P ...
'' further stated 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." Focusing more on lifestyle issues and their relationships with functional health, data from the
Alameda County StudyThe Alameda County Study is a probability study of residents from Alameda County, California which examines the relationship between lifestyle and health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ' ...
suggested that people can improve their health via
exercise Exercise is any Human body, bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons, to aid growth and improve strength, preventing senescence, aging, developing muscles ...

exercise
, enough
sleep Sleep is a Nature, naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, reduced muscle activity and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles during rapid eye movement sle ...

sleep
, spending time in nature, maintaining a healthy
body weight Human body weight refers to a person's mass or weight. Body weight is measured in kilogram The kilogram (also kilogramme) is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units (SI), the current metric system, having the unit symbol kg ...
, limiting
alcohol File:Alcohol general.svg, upright=0.8, The bond angle between a hydroxyl group (-OH) and a chain of carbon atoms (R) In chemistry, alcohol is an organic compound that carries at least one hydroxyl functional group (−OH) bound to a Saturated ...
use, and avoiding
smoking Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke is breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly, the substance used is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which have been rolled into ...

smoking
. Health and
illness A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical ...
can co-exist, as even people with multiple chronic diseases or terminal illnesses can consider themselves healthy. The environment is often cited as an important factor influencing the health status of individuals. This includes characteristics of the
natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all life, living and non-living things occurring nature, naturally, meaning in this case not Artificiality, artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. Thi ...

natural environment
, the
built environment In urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, inc ...
and the
social environment The social environment, social context, sociocultural context or milieu refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture that the individual was educated or ...
. Factors such as clean
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts ...

water
and
air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at April 2019 concentration ). Number ...
, adequate
housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to the construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford Eng ...

housing
, and safe communities and
roads A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places that has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by foot or by some form of conveyance (including a motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street ...
all have been found to contribute to good health, especially to the health of infants and children. Some studies have shown that a lack of
neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English, Hiberno-English, Hibernian English, Australian English and Canadian English) or neighborhood (American English; American and British English spelling differences, see spelling differences) is a geographically ...
recreational spaces including natural environment leads to lower levels of personal satisfaction and higher levels of
obesity Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that it may have a negative effect on health. People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a ...

obesity
, linked to lower overall health and well-being. It has been demonstrated that increased time spent in natural environments is associated with improved self-reported health, suggesting that the positive health benefits of natural space in urban neighborhoods should be taken into account in
public policy Public policy is an institutionalized proposal to solve relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and implemented by programs as a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government, in response to social issues. Be ...
and land use.
Genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) Though heredity had been observed for millennia, Gregor Mendel, Moravia, Moravian scientist and Augustinian ...

Genetics
, or inherited traits from parents, also play a role in determining the health status of individuals and populations. This can encompass both the predisposition to certain diseases and health conditions, as well as the habits and behaviors individuals develop through the lifestyle of their
families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the w ...

families
. For example, genetics may play a role in the manner in which people cope with stress, either mental, emotional or physical. For example,
obesity Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that it may have a negative effect on health. People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a ...

obesity
is a significant problem in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
that contributes to poor mental health and causes stress in the lives of many people. One difficulty is the issue raised by the
debate Debate is a process that involves formal discussion on a particular topic. In a debate, opposing arguments are put forward to argue for opposing viewpoints. Debate occurs in public meetings, academic institutions, and legislative assemblies. It ...
over the relative strengths of genetics and other factors; interactions between genetics and environment may be of particular importance.


Potential issues

A number of health issues are common around the globe.
Disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting ...
is one of the most common. According to GlobalIssues.org, approximately 36 million people die each year from non-communicable (i.e., not contagious) diseases, including
cardiovascular disease Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve the heart The heart is a muscle, muscular Organ (anatomy), organ in most animals, which pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. The pumped blood car ...
,
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often kn ...

cancer
,
diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly known as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by a high blood sugar level over a prolonged period of time. Symptoms often include frequent urination, increased thirst and increased appeti ...
and chronic lung disease. Among communicable diseases, both viral and bacterial,
AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-ca ...
/
HIV The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) are two species of '' Lentivirus'' (a subgroup of retrovirus) that infect humans. Over time, they cause AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which progressive failure of the ...

HIV
,
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in which cas ...

tuberculosis
, and
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign for ...

malaria
are the most common, causing millions of deaths every year. Another health issue that causes death or contributes to other health problems is
malnutrition Malnutrition is 'a state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effect on tissue and body form (body shape, size and composition) and function and clinical out ...
, especially among children. One of the groups malnutrition affects most is young children. Approximately 7.5 million children under the age of 5 die from malnutrition, usually brought on by not having the money to find or make food. Bodily injuries are also a common health issue worldwide. These injuries, including
bone fracture A bone fracture (abbreviated FRX or Fx, Fx, or #) is a medical condition in which there is a partial or complete break in the continuity of the bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the vertebra ...
s and
burn A burn is a type of injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage Damage is any change in a thing, often a physical object, that degrades it away from its initial state. It can broadly be defined as "changes introduced into a ...
s, can reduce a person's quality of life or can cause fatalities including
infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host A host is a person responsible for guests at an event or for providing hospitality during it. Host may a ...

infection
s that resulted from the injury (or the severity injury in general).Shah, Anup (5 January 2014)
"Health Issues."
''Global Issues''.
Lifestyle choices are contributing factors to poor health in many cases. These include smoking cigarettes, and can also include a poor diet, whether it is overeating or an overly constrictive diet. Inactivity can also contribute to health issues and also a lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption, and neglect of oral hygiene. There are also genetic disorders that are inherited by the person and can vary in how much they affect the person (and when they surface). Although the majority of these health issues are preventable, a major contributor to global ill health is the fact that approximately 1 billion people lack access to health care systems. Arguably, the most common and harmful health issue is that a great many people do not have access to quality remedies.


Mental health

The
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
describes mental health as "a state of
well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good ''for'' this person, what is in the s ...
in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". Mental health is not just the absence of mental illness. Mental illness is described as 'the spectrum of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral conditions that interfere with social and emotional well-being and the lives and productivity of people. Having a mental illness can seriously impair, temporarily or permanently, the mental functioning of a person. Other terms include: 'mental health problem', 'illness', 'disorder', 'dysfunction'. Approximately twenty percent of all adults in the US are considered diagnosable with a mental illness. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada. Examples of these illnesses include
schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be ...

schizophrenia
,
ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, or excessive activity and impulsivity, which are otherwise not Developmental psychology, appropriate for a person's age. Some indivi ...
,
major depressive disorder Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of pervasive low mood. Low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain Pa ...
,
bipolar disorder Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder characterized by periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood that last from days to weeks each. If the elevated mood is severe or associated with ...
,
anxiety disorder Anxiety disorders are a cluster of mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such featu ...
,
post-traumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)Acceptable variants of this term exist; see the ''#Terminology, Terminology'' section in this article. is a mental disorder that one can develop after exposure to a Psychological trauma, traumatic event, s ...
and
autism Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents often notice signs during the first three years of their child's life. These si ...
.  Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: * Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry * Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse * Family history of mental health problems


Maintaining

Achieving and maintaining health is an ongoing process, shaped by both the evolution of
health care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuab ...

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


Diet

An important way to maintain one's personal health is to have a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods that provide
nutrients A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has mass and ta ...
to the body. Such nutrients provide the body with energy and keep it running. Nutrients help build and strengthen bones, muscles, and tendons and also regulate body processes (i.e.,
blood pressure Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , ...
). Water is essential for growth, reproduction and good health.
Macronutrients A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has mass and ta ...
are consumed in relatively large quantities and include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and fatty acids. Micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – are consumed in relatively smaller quantities, but are essential to body processes. The
food guide pyramid A food pyramid is a representation of the optimal number of servings to be eaten each day from each of the basic food groups. The first pyramid was published in Sweden in 1974. The 1992 pyramid introduced by the United States Department of Agricu ...
is a pyramid-shaped guide of healthy foods divided into sections. Each section shows the recommended intake for each food group (i.e., protein, fat, carbohydrates and sugars). Making healthy food choices can lower one's risk of heart disease and the risk of developing some types of
cancer Cancer is a group of diseases A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often kn ...

cancer
, and can help one maintain their weight within a healthy range. The
Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of Greece, Italy, and Spain in the 1960s. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil Olive oil is a vegetable oil, liquid fat obtaine ...
is commonly associated with health-promoting effects. This is sometimes attributed to the inclusion of bioactive compounds such as phenolic compounds,
isoprenoid The terpenoids, also known as isoprenoids, are a large and diverse class of naturally occurring organic chemicals derived from the 5-carbon compound isoprene, and the isoprene polymers called terpenes. While sometimes used interchangeably with "t ...

isoprenoid
s and
alkaloid Alkaloids are a class of basic BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of General-purpose programming language, general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. The ...
s.


Exercise

Physical exercise Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness Physical fitness is a state of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value ...

Physical exercise
enhances or maintains
physical fitness Physical fitness is a state of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to' ...
and overall health and wellness. It strengthens one's bones and muscles and improves the
cardiovascular system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system that permits blood Blood is a body fluid in humans and other animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrient A nutrient ...
. According to the
National Institutes of Health The National Institutes of Health (NIH ) is the primary agency of the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States The United Sta ...
, there are four types of exercise:
endurance Endurance (also related to sufferance, resilience, constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or o ...

endurance
,
strength Physical strength *Physical strength, as in people or animals *Hysterical strength, extreme strength occurring when people are in life-and-death situations *Superhuman strength, great physical strength far above human capability *A common attrib ...
,
flexibility Stiffness is the extent to which an object resists deformation (mechanics), deformation in response to an applied force. The complementary concept is flexibility or pliability: the more flexible an object is, the less stiff it is. Calculations ...

flexibility
, and
balance Balance may refer to: Common meanings * Balance (ability) in biomechanics * Balance (accounting) * Balance or weighing scale Arts and entertainment Film * Balance (1983 film), ''Balance'' (1983 film), a Bulgarian film * Balance (1989 film), ''Bal ...
. The CDC states that physical exercise can reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and anxiety. For the purpose of counteracting possible risks, it is often recommended to start physical exercise gradually as one goes. Participating in any exercising, whether it is housework, yardwork, walking or standing up when talking on the phone, is often thought to be better than none when it comes to health.


Sleep

Sleep is an essential component to maintaining health. In children, sleep is also vital for growth and development. Ongoing
sleep deprivation Sleep deprivation, also known as sleep insufficiency or sleeplessness, is the condition of not having adequate duration and/or quality of sleep to support decent alertness, performance, and health. It can be either chronic or acute and may var ...
has been linked to an increased risk for some chronic health problems. In addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to correlate with both increased susceptibility to illness and slower recovery times from illness. In one study, people with chronic insufficient sleep, set as six hours of sleep a night or less, were found to be four times more likely to catch a cold compared to those who reported sleeping for seven hours or more a night. Due to the role of sleep in regulating
metabolism Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cellu ...
, insufficient sleep may also play a role in
weight gain Weight gain is an increase in body weight. This can involve an increase in muscle mass, fat deposits, excess fluids such as water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorle ...
or, conversely, in impeding
weight loss Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness, refers to a reduction of the total body mass, by a mean loss of fluid, body fat (adipose tissue), or lean mass (namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon, and other conne ...
. Additionally, in 2007, the
International Agency for Research on Cancer The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; french: Centre International de Recherche sur le Cancer, CIRC) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization of the United Nations. Its role is to conduct and c ...
, which is the cancer research agency for the
World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution states its main objective as "the attainment ...
, declared that "shiftwork that involves disruption is probably
carcinogen A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any ...
ic to humans," speaking to the dangers of long-term nighttime work due to its intrusion on sleep. In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation released updated recommendations for sleep duration requirements based on age, and concluded that "Individuals who habitually sleep outside the normal range may be exhibiting signs or symptoms of serious health problems or, if done volitionally, may be compromising their health and well-being."


Role of science

Health science The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to health sciences: Health sciences – are those sciences which focus on health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also kno ...
is the branch of science focused on health. There are two main approaches to health science: the study and
research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may ...

research
of the
body Body may refer to: In science * Physical body, an object in physics that represents a large amount, has mass or takes up space * Body (biology), the physical material of an organism * Body plan, the physical features shared by a group of animals ...

body
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 diseases and other physical and mental impairments. The science builds on many sub-fields, including
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Developmenta ...
,
biochemistry Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical process In a scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. La ...

biochemistry
,
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scien ...

physics
,
epidemiology Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants In mathematics, the determinant is a Scalar (mathematics), scalar value that is a function (mathematics), function of the entries of a s ...
,
pharmacology Pharmacology is a branch of medicine, biology and pharmaceutical sciences concerned with drug or medication action, where a drug may be defined as any artificial, natural, or endogenous (from within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical ...
,
medical sociology Medical sociology is the sociological Sociology is the study of society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or so ...
. Applied health sciences endeavor to better understand and improve human health through applications in areas such as
health education Health education is a profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health, as well as sexual and re ...

health education
, biomedical engineering,
biotechnology Biotechnology is a broad area of biology, involving the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products. Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with related scientific fields. In the late 20th and early 21st c ...
and
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of Preventive healthcare, preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), C ...

public health
. Organized interventions to improve health based on the principles and procedures developed through the health sciences are provided by practitioners trained in
medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...

medicine
,
nursing Nursing is a profession within the health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illne ...

nursing
,
nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, pr ...
,
pharmacy Pharmacy is the clinical health science The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to health sciences: Health sciences – are those sciences which focus on health Health is a state of physical, mental a ...

pharmacy
,
social work Social work is an academic discipline and practice-based professional learning, practice-based profession that concerns itself with individuals, Family, families, social group, groups, communities, and society as a whole in an effort to meet basi ...

social work
,
psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologis ...

psychology
, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other health care professions. Clinical practitioners focus mainly on the health of individuals, while public health practitioners consider the overall health of communities and populations. Workplace wellness programs are increasingly being adopted by companies for their value in improving the health and well-being of their employees, as are
school health services School-based health and nutrition services are services provided through the school system to improve the health and well-being of children and in some cases whole families and the broader community. These services have been developed in different ...
in order to improve the health and well-being of children.


Role of medicine and medical science

Contemporary medicine is in general conducted within
health care system A health system, also sometimes referred to as health care system or as healthcare system, is the organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an ins ...
s. Legal,
credential A credential is a piece of any document that details a qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant or ''de facto'' authority or assumed competence to do so. Examples of credentials include aca ...
ing and financing frameworks are established by individual governments, augmented on occasion by international organizations, such as churches. The characteristics of any given health care system have significant impact on the way medical care is provided. From ancient times, Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of systematic nursing and hospitals and the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wor ...

Catholic Church
today remains the largest non-government provider of medical services in the world. Advanced industrial countries (with the exception of the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
) and many
developing countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...
provide medical services through a system of
universal health care Universal healthcare (also called universal health coverage, universal coverage, or universal care) is a health care system in which all residents of a particular country or region are assured access to health care. It is generally organized aroun ...

universal health care
that aims to guarantee care for all through a
single-payer health care Single-payer healthcare is a type of universal healthcare in which the costs of essential healthcare for all residents are covered by a single public system (hence 'single-payer'). Single-payer systems may contract for healthcare services from p ...
system, or compulsory private or co-operative
health insurance Health insurance is a type of insurance that covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses. As with other types of insurance is risk among many individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health risk and healt ...
. This is intended to ensure that the entire population has access to medical care on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. Delivery may be via private medical practices or by state-owned hospitals and clinics, or by charities, most commonly by a combination of all three. Most
tribal The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

tribal
societies provide no guarantee of healthcare for the population as a whole. In such societies, healthcare is available to those that can afford to pay for it or have self-insured it (either directly or as part of an employment contract) or who may be covered by care financed by the government or tribe directly. Transparency of information is another factor defining a delivery system. Access to information on conditions, treatments, quality, and pricing greatly affects the choice by patients/consumers and, therefore, the incentives of medical professionals. While the US healthcare system has come under fire for lack of openness, new legislation may encourage greater openness. There is a perceived tension between the need for transparency on the one hand and such issues as patient confidentiality and the possible exploitation of information for commercial gain on the other.


Delivery

Provision of medical care is classified into primary, secondary, and tertiary care categories.
Primary care Primary care may be provided in community health centres. Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or ...
medical services are provided by
physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining ...

physician
s,
physician assistant A physician assistant or physician associate (PA) is a type of Mid-level practitioner, mid-level provider. PAs may diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and may serve as a patient’s principal healthcare p ...
s,
nurse practitioner A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse An advanced practice nurse (APN) is a nurse with post-graduate Postgraduate education (graduate education in North America North America is a continent entirely w ...
s, or other health professionals who have first contact with a patient seeking medical treatment or care. These occur in physician offices,
clinic A clinic (or outpatient clinic or ambulatory care clinic) is a health facility that is primarily focused on the care of outpatients. Clinics can be privately operated or publicly managed and funded. They typically cover the primary care needs ...
s,
nursing home A nursing home is a facility for the residential care of elderly or disabled people. Nursing homes may also be referred to as skilled nursing facility (SNF), long-term care facilities, old people's homes, care homes, rest homes, convalescent ho ...
s, schools, home visits, and other places close to patients. About 90% of medical visits can be treated by the primary care provider. These include treatment of acute and chronic illnesses,
preventive care Preventive healthcare, or prophylaxis, consists of measures taken for disease prevention.Hugh R. Leavell and E. Gurney Clark as "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical and mental health and efficiency. ...
and
health education Health education is a profession of educating people about health. Areas within this profession encompass environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health, as well as sexual and re ...

health education
for all ages and both sexes.
Secondary care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuab ...
medical services are provided by
medical specialist A medical specialty is a branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy. Examples include children (paediatrics Pediatrics (American and British English differences, also spelled paedi ...
s in their offices or clinics or at local community hospitals for a patient referred by a primary care provider who first diagnosed or treated the patient. Referrals are made for those patients who required the expertise or procedures performed by specialists. These include both
ambulatory careAmbulatory care or outpatient care is medical care provided on an outpatient basis, including diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services. This care can include advanced medical technology Health techno ...
and
inpatient A patient is any recipient of health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventive healthcare, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injur ...
services, Emergency departments,
intensive care medicine Intensive care medicine, also called critical care medicine, is a medical specialty that deals with seriously or critically ill patients who have, are at risk of, or are recovering from conditions that may be life-threatening. It includes prov ...
, surgery services, physical therapy,
labor and delivery Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 135 million births globally. About 15 million w ...
,
endoscopy An endoscopy (''looking inside'') is a procedure used in medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therap ...

endoscopy
units, diagnostic
laboratory A laboratory (; ; colloquially lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which science, scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. Laboratory services are provided in a variety of sett ...
and
medical imaging Medical imaging is the technique and process of imaging Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of an image). Imaging technology is the application of materia ...
services,
hospice Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Hospice care prioritizes comfort and quality of life by ...
centers, etc. Some primary care providers may also take care of hospitalized patients and deliver babies in a secondary care setting.
Tertiary care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World ...
medical services are provided by specialist hospitals or regional centers equipped with diagnostic and treatment facilities not generally available at local hospitals. These include
trauma center Trauma Center may refer to: * Trauma center, a type of hospital that cares for patients suffering from major traumatic injuries *Trauma Center (TV series), ''Trauma Center'' (TV series), a 1983 American medical drama *Trauma Center (video game seri ...
s,
burn A burn is a type of injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage Damage is any change in a thing, often a physical object, that degrades it away from its initial state. It can broadly be defined as "changes introduced into a ...
treatment centers, advanced
neonatology Neonatology is a subspecialty of pediatrics Pediatrics ( also spelled paediatrics or pædiatrics) is the branch of medicine that involves the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recomme ...
unit services,
organ transplant Organ transplantation is a medical procedure in which an organ (anatomy), organ is removed from one body and placed in the body of a recipient, to replace a damaged or missing organ. The donor and recipient may be at the same location, or organ ...
s, high-risk pregnancy,
radiation upThe international symbol for types and levels of ionizing radiation (radioactivity) that are unsafe for unshielded humans. Radiation, in general, exists throughout nature, such as in light and sound. In physics Physics (from grc ...

radiation
oncology Oncology is a branch of medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form ...
, etc. Modern medical care also depends on information – still delivered in many health care settings on paper records, but increasingly nowadays by electronic means. In low-income countries, modern healthcare is often too expensive for the average person. International healthcare policy researchers have advocated that "user fees" be removed in these areas to ensure access, although even after removal, significant costs and barriers remain. Separation of prescribing and dispensing is a practice in medicine and pharmacy in which the
physician A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining ...

physician
who provides a
medical prescription A prescription, often abbreviated ℞ or Rx, is a health care program implemented by a physician or other qualified health care practitioner in the form of instructions that govern the plan of care for an individual patient. The term often r ...
is independent from the
pharmacist A pharmacist, also known as a chemist (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which h ...

pharmacist
who provides the
prescription drug A prescription drug (also prescription medication or prescription medicine) is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. In contrast, over-the-counter drugs can be obtained without a prescription. The r ...
. In the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
there are centuries of tradition for separating pharmacists from physicians. In Asian countries, it is traditional for physicians to also provide drugs.


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 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 Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being We ...
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 A pandemic (from Greek , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people. A wid ...

pandemic
). Public health has many sub-fields, but typically includes the interdisciplinary categories of
epidemiology Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants In mathematics, the determinant is a Scalar (mathematics), scalar value that is a function (mathematics), function of the entries of a s ...
,
biostatistics Biostatistics (also known as biometry) are the development and application of statistical methods to a wide range of topics in biology. It encompasses the design of biological experiments, the collection and analysis of data from those experiment ...
and
health services Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World ...

health services
.
Environmental health ''Environmental Health'' is a peer-reviewed medical journal established in 2002 and published by BioMed Central. It covers research in all areas of environmental and occupational medicine Occupational medicine, until 1960 called industrial m ...
,
community health Community health is a branch of public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of Preventive healthcare, preventing disease”, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices ...
,
behavioral health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization ( WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to ...
, and
occupational health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and quality of life, welfare of ...
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 behavior,
communities A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, wor ...
, and (in aspects relevant to human health) environments. Its aim is to prevent health problems from happening or re-occurring by implementing
educational programsAn educational program is a program written by the institution or ministry of education which determines the learning progress of each subject in all the stages of formal education. Besides the primary educational program, some schools use a differe ...

educational programs
, developing
policies A policy is a deliberate system of principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political or personal co ...
, administering services and conducting
research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may ...

research
. In many cases, treating a disease or controlling a
pathogen In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, ...
can be vital to preventing it in others, such as during an
outbreak In epidemiology, an outbreak is a sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place. It may affect a small and localized group or impact upon thousands of people across an entire continent. Four linked cases of a rare inf ...
.
Vaccination Vaccination is the administration of a vaccine to help the immune system develop protection from a disease. Vaccines contain a microorganism or virus in a weakened, live or killed state, or proteins or toxins from the organism. In stimulating ...
programs and distribution of
condom A condom is a sheath-shaped Barrier contraception, barrier device used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy or a Sexually transmitted disease, sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are both male and female cond ...
s to prevent the spread of
communicable disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmi ...
s 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 Public health has been defined as "the science and art of Preventive healthcare, preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), C ...

Public health
also takes various actions to limit the health disparities between different areas of the
country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state, as a n ...
and, in some cases, the
continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to small ...
or
world The world is the Earth and all life on it, including civilization, human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an Ontology, ontological world (the "world" of an individual). In a theo ...

world
. One issue is the access of individuals and communities to health care in terms of financial, geographical or socio-cultural constraints. Applications of the public
health system A health system, also sometimes referred to as health care system or as healthcare system, is the organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an ins ...
include the areas of
maternal A mother is the female parent of a child. Mothers are women who inhabit or perform the role of bearing some relation to their children, who may or may not be their biological offspring. Thus, dependent on the context, women can be considered mo ...
and child health, health services administration, emergency response, and prevention and control of
infectious An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxin A toxin is a harmful substance produced within living cells ...
and
chronic disease A chronic condition is a human health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' ...
s. 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 in the mortality rates for
infants 222x222px, Eight-month-old sororal twin sisters An infant (from the Latin word ''infans'', meaning 'unable to speak' or 'speechless') is the more formal or specialised synonym for the common term ''baby'', meaning the very young offspri ...

infants
and
child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human being between the stages of childbirth, birth and puberty, or between the Development of the human body, developmental period of infancy and puberty. The legal definition of ''child'' generally ...

child
ren and a continual increase in
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and other demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient G ...

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


Self-care strategies

upright=0.75, A lady washing her hands c. 1655 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. They also include personal
hygiene Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsical ...

hygiene
practices to prevent infection and illness, such as
bathing Bathing is the washing of the body with a liquid, usually water or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapy, therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a ...
and with soap; brushing and flossing teeth; storing, preparing and handling food safely; and many others. The information gleaned from personal observations of daily living – 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).
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It c ...
. (2008)
''Health in Everyday Living''.
/ref> Personal health also depends partially on the social structure of a person's life. The maintenance of strong
social relation In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship between two or more individuals. Social relations derived from agency (sociology), individual agency form the basis of social structure and the basic object for analys ...
ships,
volunteering Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and ...

volunteering
, and other social activities have been linked to positive mental health and also increased longevity. One American study among
seniors Senior (shortened as Sr.) means "the elder" in Latin and is often used Suffix (name)#Generational titles, as a suffix for the elder of two or more people in the same family with the same given name, usually a parent or grandparent. It may also refer ...
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 scores, fewer
depressive symptoms Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. It can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, motivation, feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of touch The somatosensory system is a part of th ...
, and better mental well-being and
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future. It is a measure of well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential val ...
than non-volunteering retirees. Prolonged
psychological stress In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense s ...
may negatively impact health, and has been cited as a factor in
cognitive impairment Cognitive deficit is an inclusive term to describe any characteristic that acts as a barrier to the cognition process. The term may describe * deficits in overall intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic ...
with aging, depressive illness, and expression of disease.
Stress managementStress management is a wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person's level of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of and for the motive of improving everyday functioning. Stress produces nume ...
is the application of methods to either reduce stress or increase tolerance to stress.
Relaxation technique A relaxation technique (also known as relaxation training) 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 pain, anxiety, Stress (biology), stress ...
s are physical methods used to relieve stress. Psychological methods include
cognitive therapy Cognitive therapy (CT) is a type of psychotherapy developed by American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck. CT is one therapeutic approach within the larger group of cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) and was first expounded ...
,
meditation Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and ...

meditation
, and , which work by reducing response to stress. Improving relevant skills, such as
problem solving Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc Ad hoc is a List of Latin phrases, Latin phrase meaning literally 'to this'. In English, it generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-Generalization, gene ...

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


Occupational

In addition to
safety Safety is the state of being "safe", the condition of being protected from harm Harm is a moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. ...

safety
risks, many jobs also present risks of disease, illness and other long-term health problems. Among the most common
occupational diseases An occupational disease is any chronic ailment that occurs as a result of work or occupational activity. It is an aspect of occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health a ...
are various forms of
pneumoconiosis Pneumoconiosis is the general term for a class of interstitial lung disease Interstitial lung disease (ILD), or diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD), is a group of respiratory diseases affecting the interstitium (the tissue and space around ...
, including
silicosis Silicosis is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust. It is marked by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs. It is a type of pneumoconiosis. Silico ...

silicosis
and coal worker's pneumoconiosis (black lung disease).
Asthma Asthma is a chronic (medicine), long-term inflammation, inflammatory disease of the bronchi, airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible Airway obstruction, airflow obstruction, and easily triggered b ...
is another
respiratory illness Respiratory diseases, or lung diseases, are pathological Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an ...
that many workers are vulnerable to. Workers may also be vulnerable to skin diseases, including
eczema Dermatitis is inflammation Inflammation (from la, wikt:en:inflammatio#Latin, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or Irritation, irritants, and is a pr ...
,
dermatitis Dermatitis (also known as eczema) is inflammation of the skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. Other cuticle ...
,
urticaria Hives, also known as urticaria, is a kind of skin rash with red, raised, itchy bumps. They may also burn or sting. Often the patches of rash move around. Typically they last a few days and do not leave any long-lasting skin changes. Fewer than 5 ...

urticaria
,
sunburn Sunburn is a form of radiation burn A radiation burn is a damage to the skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. ...

sunburn
, and
skin cancer Skin cancers are cancers that arise from the skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. Other cuticle, animal cove ...

skin cancer
.HSE (Health and Safety Executive of Great Britain) Skin at work
Retrieved on June 20, 2009
Other occupational diseases of concern include
carpal tunnel syndrome Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve The median nerve is a nerve in humans and other animals in the upper limb. It is one of the five main nerves originating from the brachial plexus. The me ...

carpal tunnel syndrome
and
lead poisoning Lead poisoning, also known as plumbism and saturnism, is a type of metal poisoning Metal toxicity or metal poisoning is the toxic effect of certain metals in certain forms and doses on life. Some metals are toxic when they form poisonous soluble ...
. As the number of
service sector The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic sectors of the three-sector theory. The others are the secondary sector (approximately the same as manufacturing), and the primary sect ...
jobs has risen in developed countries, more and more jobs have become
sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching television are characteristic of a sedentary lifestyle A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle involving l ...
, presenting a different array of health problems than those associated with
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary sector ...
and the
primary sector The primary sector of the economy includes any industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or se ...
. Contemporary problems, such as the growing rate of
obesity Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that it may have a negative effect on health. People are generally considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a ...

obesity
and issues relating to stress and overwork in many countries, have further complicated the interaction between work and health. Many governments view occupational health as a social challenge and have formed public organizations to ensure the health and safety of workers. Examples of these include the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Overseas Territories, and the Crown dependenc ...

British
Health and Safety Executive The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risk In simple terms, risk is the possibil ...
and in the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
, the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, ) is the United States federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury Injury, also known as physical ...
, which conducts research on occupational health and safety, and the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ) is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor that originally had federal visitorial powers to inspect and examine workplaces. Congress established the agency ...
, which handles regulation and policy relating to worker safety and health.


See also

*
Disease burden Disease burden is the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function (biology), function of all or part o ...

Disease burden
*
Environmental health ''Environmental Health'' is a peer-reviewed medical journal established in 2002 and published by BioMed Central. It covers research in all areas of environmental and occupational medicine Occupational medicine, until 1960 called industrial m ...
*
Healing Healing is the process of the restoration of health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable r ...

Healing
*
Health equity Health equity arises from access to the social determinants of health, specifically from wealth, power and prestige. Individuals who have consistently been deprived of these three determinants are significantly disadvantaged from health inequitie ...
*
Human enhancement Human enhancement (HE) can be described as the natural, artificial, or technological Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of Art techn ...
*
Men's health Men's health refers to a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, as experienced by men, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Differences in men's health compared to women's can be attributed to biological factors ...
*
One Health One Health is "the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment", as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF). History Th ...

One 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 Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being We ...
*
Women's health Women's health refers to the health of women, which differs from that of men in many unique ways. Women's health is an example of population health, where health is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) ...
*
Youth healthAdolescent health, or youth health, is the range of approaches to preventing, detecting or treating young people's health and well-being. The term adolescent and young people Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time ...
* List of health and wellness podcasts


References


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Health Personal life Articles containing video clips Main topic articles