What Is Health?

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Resilience

Image: Shutterstock

Health is impacted by our lifestyles; what we eat, how we sleep, exercise and interact with family and community, and by medical care and treatments.

“The nature of the road describes the nature of the travel.” 

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley 

As you might imagine, the eSavvyHealth team has had many discussions around topics like what is health, how do you measure it, and how can you improve it? In fact, developing and providing educational resources to help you answer these sorts of questions is our entire purpose as a company. We’d certainly better come up with some decent answers if we’re to keep you engaged. 

Well, what do we think health is? A good starting point, since you can’t measure “health” without a pretty clear notion of what health is. 

Let me start with points on which we can all likely agree. Health, without question, is a journey. Health is a dynamic condition. Health has its ebbs and flows. Health is impacted by our lifestyles; what we eat, how we sleep, exercise and interact with family and community, and by medical care and treatments. 

Let’s look at how these factors align with various definitions of health: 

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” World Health Organization 

” the state of being free from illness or injury” Merriam-Webster 

“…the extent of an individual’s continuing physical, emotional, mental, and social ability to cope with his or her environment.” Encyclopedia Britannica 

With this in mind I’ll give you the eSavvyHealth definition of health. 

Health is the dependable operation of the body’s systems so as to support—and not inhibit—the individual’s capability of doing what he or she wants to do. 

We believe this definition offers each of us a practical way to assess our health status and enable us to take specific actions to improve it. How dependable are our body’s systems? How much do they support what we want to do in life? 

We believe that our life-long journey to create and maintain health is best traveled on the road of understanding. But when trying to make an informed decision about just about any aspect of health, we can quickly find ourselves sifting through a haystack of information seeking a needle of understanding.

So many different roads are offered. Quick fixes, incredible claims of rapid, effortless improvements. Think about the number of companies that have a financial interest in the health decisions we make—companies that produce, process and distribute food, manufacture medical drugs, and prescribe those drugs—generating combined revenues of 6 trillion dollars a year. You can see why it’s almost inevitable that you will be immersed in an ocean of information, and misinformation, about things that affect health. 

Taking the road to better health through real understanding isn’t necessarily easy, but it is fundamentally simple: 

  • Identify reliable sources of information 
  • Understand what they are telling us 
  • Apply that understanding to ourselves and others 

As you get better and better at doing this, I’m absolutely certain you’ll be more confident that you’re on the right road. Here are several resources that I hope will help:

Bob Graves

Bob Graves

Position

Bob Graves is a long-time veteran of publishing of health, environmental and public-benefit information. He holds a Masters degree in Nutrition from UC Davis.

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