What is Health?

Key message: Health is the state of a living organism when it functions and feels normal or better than normal.


What is the WHO-definition of health?

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." (www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution, 20.06.20)

What are my problems with this definition?

"A definition is the explanation of a previously unknown word with a combination of at least two previously known words." (Seffert , H. (1997) Einführung in die Wissenschaft. München: Beck Verlag, page 49)

My problems are:

  1. I don‘t know the definition of the word "well being". (Read on Learn-Study-Work "How to define words (terms)")
  2. This definition does not motivate me, because I do not know how to come into a state of complete well being.

My definition of health is:

Health is the state of a living organism when it functions and feels normal or better than normal.


Example: If a bird cannot fly, then it is sick. If a human being can't fly, that is normal.


My definition motivates me to come into a state better than normal.

What is Health? Health Definition - www.learn-study-work.org

What is wellbeing?

"The concept of wellbeing comprises two main elements: feeling good and functioning well." (www.lifewideeducation.uk/uploads/1/3/5/4/13542890/a4._norman_jackson.pdf, 20.06.20, page 1)

What is well-functioning?

"Body functions are the physiological or psychological functions of body systems. ... Survival depends on the body's maintaining or restoring homeostasis, a state of relative constancy, of its internal environment. ... The basic processes of life include organization, metabolism, responsiveness, movements, and reproduction. In humans, who represent the most complex form of life, there are additional requirements such as growth, differentiation, respiration, digestion, and excretion. All of these processes are interrelated. No part of the body, from the smallest cell to a complete body system, works in isolation. All function together, in fine-tuned balance, for the well being of the individual and to maintain life."


What is well-feeling?

"For Aristotle, living a good life meant achieving one’s potential in knowledge, health, friendship, wealth, and other life domains ... Two conceptual approaches to wellbeing research now dominate the field ... The objective approach defines wellbeing in terms of quality of life indicators such as material resources (e.g. income, food, housing) and social attributes (education, health, political voice, social networks and connections). The subjective approach emphasises subjective wellbeing, that is people’s own evaluations of their lives, especially their life satisfaction (a cognitive evaluation), happiness (a positive emotional state) and unhappiness (a negative emotional state)" (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047468/pdf/pone.0163345.pdf, 20.06.20, page 1-2)

"Measures of subjective well being ask individuals to self report ratings of aspects of their lives, including satisfaction with their live as a whole, their feelings at a particular moment, or the extent to which their life have meaning or purpose. These measures focus on what people believe and report feeling, not their objective conditions, although they can be related to objective conditions." (For Good Measure Advancing Research on Well-being Metrics Beyond GDP, DOI: https ://doi.org/10.1787/9789264307278 en, 20.06.20, page 164)


Conclusion: wellbeing = subjective well-feeling + well-functioning


How do human beings function and feel better?

Human beings function and feel better when they follow a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Lifstyle - Health Promotion - Ocuupational Health - www.learn-study-work.org

Read on Learn-Study-Work: What is Occupational Health?