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The concept of health

In everyday life, we consider that we are healthy if we do not currently suffer from any acute or chronic illness.

Is it simple as that? Are we healthy if we are depressed? Or if we do not have elementary conditions for hygiene, such as access to clear water and soap? Is a person with a disability a sick person?

It is clear that our psychological state affects our physical health and vice versa. Many people are not even aware of the illness they have, such as intestinal parasites and lice, which are due to poor living conditions and opportunities. Undoubtedly, people with disabilities can lead a normal life if they have adequate aids, and if the social system is organized in a way not to ignore individuals but to integrate everyone.

Thus, many factors affect our health, so it’s not easy to define what health is. There have been many attempts throughout the history of defining health and there are still scientific debates about the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed definitions1,2.

Presently, the most widely accepted is the World Health Organization’s definition, according to which health is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.


[1] http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756797/obo-9780199756797-0132.xml

[1] http://www.med.uottawa.ca/sim/data/health_definitions_e.htm