Public Health and Health Education Faculty Publications
The Meaning of Health in the Era of Valuebased CareIn an era of value-based care, the practice of medicine and other health professions have been drawn to subjective, comprehensive and multidimensional views of health such as the World Health Organization (WHO) concept that defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This paper, through a philosophical analysis, demonstrates that health is not multidimensional and is a natural phenomenon. A philosophical discussion contends that health must realistically and logically reside in the person and this requires it to be a physical state. This paper also illustrates that, in the popular language of health, many times, health professionals: (1) inappropriately view health as a subjective human construct as opposed to viewing health as an objective phenomena, (2) confuse what is desired and valued as a good life with what is good health, and (3) fail to recognize the vital distinction between what affects health and what is health. A meaning of health is offered through several examples and arguments that demonstrate why health is a state of physical well-being or physical fitness that is defined by how well the body is functioning in accordance with its natural design and how well this natural design affords individuals the ability to achieve essential functional objectives of humans on the biological and person level.