What does it mean to be healthy?

To many people, being healthy is a part of daily life, assumed and taken for granted.

What does it mean to be healthy?

To many people, being healthy is a part of daily life, assumed and taken for granted. For many others, the reverse is true, with either acute or chronic illness impacting their lives in different ways. What does it truly mean to be healthy?

Does feeling well = wellness?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as follows:

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

If we examine this closely, we can see that being healthy is not just the absence of physical illness but a more holistic state of biological, psychological and social well-being.

Are people the best judge of their health? According to the Australian Institute of Health (AIHW) biennial report on the nation’s health (Australia’s Health 2018), around 80% of Australians aged 15 or more rated their health good or better.

This contrasts with the facts (from Australia’s Health 2018):

  • Approximately 50% of the population has a chronic condition
  • 63% of the population aged 18 or more are overweight or obese
  • Around 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime

A multitude of fruits

Whilst we can look forward to increasing life expectancy (for babies born in 2016; males 80.4 years, females 84.6 years), quality of life is an increasingly important factor. The progressive change of our population, with increasing numbers of people living longer, is leading to a population with a higher prevalence of chronic conditions and mental illness.

Chronic conditions are a leading cause of being unhealthy and many are linked to lifestyle factors such as sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, smoking and alcohol intake.

Preventing ill health is a key step in staying healthy. Keep yourself informed and up to date with evidence-based health advice and avoid becoming a statistic!

All content found on DWS Health Stuff, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

About the author

Dr Roy is a medical practitioner with over 25 years’ experience working in tertiary and primary care. He previously trained and worked in Victoria but currently resides in tropical north Queensland, teaching the next generation of doctors.  He is passionate about education, for health care profes ... more

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