Concept of Health and disease


Health is a comprehensively used term defined in many ways. In most of the earlier definitions (before the 1950s), health was defined as simply the absence of a disease or deformity. However, modern definitions given by WHO has added a more comprehensive and multidimensional approach. WHO defined health as “A dynamic state of complete  physical, mental, social, spiritual and moral well-being but not just the absence of disease or infirmity”. In the past, the concept of health was narrow and ambiguous as it was primarily focussed on the general well-being of an individual involving only the physical dimension. In addition,  people had many false beliefs about their health. For example, many have believed that a person having ‘black bile’ feels very hot hence he or she is more vulnerable to fevers. But this has slowly evolved into a more solid approach combining all the aspects of health. Modern-day health care professionals view health in a multidimensional approach. Therefore physical, emotional, social, spiritual and moral aspects of health must be included while defining health. Furthermore, it is important to understand the fact that an imbalance in either one of these dimensions creates imbalance in all other dimensions. For instance, if we are attacked by a chronic lung disease, we tend to be disturbed mentally and if the conditions prevail, we are so close to the depression- a meant health issue.


Concepts of health

Health is a state of a continuum ranging from the extremely healthy to the extreme disablement.  Although health cannot be quantified, one can identify the level of health of an individual. Different levels of health can be classified as extremely healthy, healthy, sick, diseased and extremely disabled. Health is one of the states on the continuum influenced by a variety of factors called determinants. Let us understand the determinants or factors determining one’s health.


Determinants of health

Determinants are the operational factors that drive one’s health between the extremely healthy to the extremely disabled.  The level of one`s health is influenced by many external and internal factors explained as under.

  1. Nutrition

  2. Environment

  3. Genetics and heredity

  4. Health care facilities

  5. Lifestyle



1. Nutrition

Both the over-nutrition (eating too much) and under-nutrition (eating less) have a profound impact on one’s body and mind. Some of the diseases linked with nutrition are the deficiency disorders and obesity (increased body weight). Science of nutrition deals with the proper cleaning of vegetables and fruits, applying the scientific mythologies for cooking, healthy menu plan, consumption of balanced diet, use of more veggies,  and the regular assessment of growth and nutrition in children. Food is a basic and foundational part of everyone's lives. Eating healthy and the right foods can assure a balanced life and longevity. Some of the very fundamental principles of nutrition such as reducing the intake of fat and sugar, increasing proteins, eating a lot of vitamins and minerals can definitely help in achieving the well-being. Proper nutrition can also maintain a healthy body weight thus it prevents the individuals being affected by chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.


2. Environment

Health is directly influenced by the environment we all live hence, health and environment are inseparable. Some factors such as pollution, poor environmental hygiene, poor lighting and ventilation, unclean clothing, unsafe drinking water and poor housing can have a profound negative effect on one’s health. It is important to manage all these issues to an extent possible, Furthermore, keeping our surroundings free from rodents, flies, mosquitoes, breeding places also help us to prevent many illnesses. 


3. Genetics and heredity

Genetics is one of the principal factor influencing the health. Inherited genetic variation from one generation to another can seriously contribute to many illnesses. Some of the genetic factors affect us directly whereas few others can have indirect influence. Heredity is one of the non-modifiable risk factors that cannot be avoided, however, on the long-term perspective, a positive lifestyle coupled with many other factors can improve the way our genes are expressed. Some notable genetic ailments and the chromosomal defects, play an important role in determining the level of well-being among individuals.


4. Lifestyle and culture

Life-style has a serious impact on the level of health and fitness of the individuals. Spiritualism, holistic approach towards health, positive thinking, cheering life, living simple and humble, prayer and meditation are definitely needed to stay healthy. It is also important to note that positive health beliefs can benefit the health of individuals and family.


5. Availability of health care facilities (health care delivery system)

This is probably the most important than all the other factors. It is up to the people to decide on what kind of health care suits the best in a particular area. Accessibility, affordability, connectivity to the health care facilities  are some notable factors before setting up a hospital. Global statistics clearly depict the fact that a better health care delivery system  with these factors can definitely help in reducing the rate of illnesses. Furthermore, our health care delivery system must focus on the promotion, prevention, curation and rehabilitation aspects. Developing countries like India must urge on building state-of-the-art medical, surgical and nursing facilities that can place the health care delivery system in a commanding position.


Concept of disease

Disease is a state of poor functioning capacity of the body and mind. Diseases can cause physical, emotional, social and spiritual disturbance in one's life. A disease can be acute or chronic, minor illness or serious life-threatening condition. The ultimate effect of a disease is the maladaptation in an individual's body system.  Some examples of chronic illnesses are Asthma, TB, meningitis, whereas the acute ones can be diarrhea, fever and unconsciousness. Absence of a disease doesn’t mean a person is healthy but an individual must not feel difficulties in the day-to-day activities.


Healthy habits and lifestyle for good health

  1. Quitting smoking and alcoholism

  2. Regular exercises and active lifestyle to maintain a healthy body weight

  3. Eating a healthy and balanced diet including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red meat, saturated fats and sugar are advisable.

  4. Regular health check-up, especially after 40s.

  5. Meditation on a daily basis provides a diversion from the hectic work schedule to regain balance in life.

  6. Positive thinking and a good attitude towards health.

  7. Acceptable cultural and social practices.



Read more


 Sanitation and health            


Acute and chronic diseases                            







Check your understanding 

  1. Define health according to WHO

  2. How is nutrition and health linked?

  3. Explain the role of genetics in health.

  4. Explain the importance of environmental sanitation.


Welcome to innoclazz Academy; one of the leading portal to provide home tutors across the country. If you are looking for a personal teacher we request you to register at Innoclazz academy. We provide home tutors in bangalore. You may also contact us for the best home tutors in Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.




Course List