Health is a condition where disease and infirmity are totally absent. Different definitions have been employed for various purposes over the years. The dictionary defines health as the condition of being able to cope with the demands of life. Another definition defines health as the enjoyment of a good or satisfactory quality of life.
Healthy people are happy people. People with good health have higher energy, they are not depressed and they do not feel guilty about anything. People who are healthy to enjoy their work and family life. They are more active and get plenty of rest. A healthy individual is free from ill health, has increased strength and stamina and has better nutritional control. People who are in poor overall health are more likely to suffer from serious illness and have low vitality.
People who have good overall health have greater mental well-being and they live longer. Health and wellness affect physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Health is also affected by the extent of one’s resources (money, education, power etc.) The resources required to reach and maintain optimal physical health can be increased through the use of correct food habits, work, education and social activities.
Health disparities in the U.S. population are found in almost every area of life. Disparities exist between rich and poor, blacks and whites, men and women, and between regions and cities. It is believed that health care and insurance are the key factors contributing to the discrepancies. A major cause for the discrepancies is the differences in health profiles of the poor and the wealthy. Poor people have poorer health profiles than the wealthy.
One of the biggest factors contributing to the discrepancies in health and wellness is racial and ethnic bias in the treatment of patients with chronic illnesses. There is a greater likelihood of medical professionals overlooking symptoms or conditions that may not be apparent to the patient, therefore the person may go untreated and remain sick. People of color and other underserved groups face greater health care and disability discrimination than others. In some cases, people of color and other disadvantaged groups may be denied appropriate health care services because of their race, nationality, gender, and age.
Environmental factors like poor nutrition and exposure to toxins can also lead to various types of illness, which are linked to poor health conditions. The prevalence of toxins in the environment has increased over the past few decades. Toxins can act as triggers and amplifiers for various types of diseases and illness and can contribute to serious complications, even death.
Health problems can also stem from stress. Stress is known to have a negative impact on one’s physical and mental health. It can cause physical illness such as heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses and can also contribute to emotional and mental disorders. Other mental health conditions such as depression and other personality disorders can also be worsened by stress. Mental health can also be affected by environmental factors like pollution and tobacco smoke.
Our current systems for assessing and evaluating the public’s health are based on subjective criteria and do not incorporate the experiences of individuals in their own communities. This contributes to the increasing challenge for public health professionals to continue to develop more sophisticated and inclusive tools for the assessment and evaluation of individual mental health, social well-being, and physical health. There is also a need for researchers to conduct studies that focus on the interactions between social and environmental factors in the determination of individual health and the improvement of public health.
The advances in technology over the past few decades have created enormous changes in the landscape of knowledge landscapes. Technological change has resulted in dramatic changes in the way people acquire knowledge, as well as the ways they process and understand that knowledge. Knowledge from diverse sources helps individuals grow and develop into knowledgeable consumers. On the other hand, information technologies have resulted in the increasing isolation of individuals within their communities, creating a balkanization of the public sphere.
Technological changes have resulted in changes in the landscape of health outcomes in many ways. Advancements in information technology and health care informatics have led to the creation of new challenges and opportunities for health care providers and organizations. Organizations must respond to these changes by developing and maintaining innovative systems for collecting, analyzing, disseminating, and communicating data that are relevant to improving health care for all. In addition, organizations must work to ensure that health care providers and researchers have access to accurate and current data and that health care workers are aware of and appropriately utilize the same.
There is ample evidence that demonstrates the increased risks of acquiring high levels of stress, depression, and other negative emotions, which are associated with greater environmental stigma and social isolation. This “push/pull” dynamic is particularly salient for persons of color and other underserved groups, who are more likely to experience both high levels of stress and negative emotions, as compared to white people. Because persons of color and other underserved groups are so vulnerable to the negative consequences of psychological illness and poor health behaviors, organizations must take steps to mitigate the potential negative consequences of these conditions on the quality of life of all their residents. Mental health care research has identified particular forms of environmental racism that lead to such discrepancies in health outcomes, such as higher rates of substance abuse and other serious disorders among persons of color, higher rates of depression and other mental health conditions, and lower levels of educational attainment among persons of color and other underserved groups.