How should we define health?

  title={How should we define health?},
  author={Machteld Huber and J. Andr{\'e} Knottnerus and Lawrence Green and Henri{\"e}tte van der Horst and Alejandro Alex R Jadad and Daan Kromhout and Brian Leonard and Kate Lorig and Mar{\'i}a Isabel Loureiro and Jos W. M. van der Meer and P. Schnabel and Richard M. Smith and Chris van Weel and Henk H. F. Smid},
  journal={BMJ : British Medical Journal},
The WHO definition of health as complete wellbeing is no longer fit for purpose given the rise of chronic disease. Machteld Huber and colleagues propose changing the emphasis towards the ability to adapt and self manage in the face of social, physical, and emotional challenges 

Health is state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing

Huber and colleagues define survival, not health, which perhaps tries to mitigate healthcare’s mission creep and the inflated expectations laid at its door.

WHO definition of health remains fit for purpose

  • D. Lewis
  • Medicine, Political Science
    BMJ : British Medical Journal
  • 2011
I was surprised by Huber and colleagues’ arguments for denouncing the World Health Organization’s definition of health, which has stood for more than 60 years.1 It made me wonder why anyone would

A New Concept of Health Can Improve the Definition of Frailty

This viewpoint suggests that the concept of frailty can usefully be defined as the weakening of health, i.e. the resilience or capacity to cope, and to maintain and restore one’s integrity, equilibrium, and sense of wellbeing in three domains: physical, mental, and social.

The economy of wellbeing: what is it and what are the implications for health?

Jonathan Cylus and Peter Smith consider how measurement of wellbeing might be used to set public sector priorities and how this might change in the future.

Health: redefined

This work provides an alternative, new, all-encompassing definition of health, each offering an alternative viewpoint from sociological, environmental, societal and economic standpoints.

Proposal for new definition of health

It is argued that a contemporary definition of health should include health being a human right protected by certain entitlements and a resource for life that is affected by social, political, economic, and environmental factors.

Designing a framework for the concept of health

A set of ideas related to defining health are discussed – using the World Health Organization definition, several debates in the academic literature, and the Meikirch Model of Health to develop a general framework to guide further explorations to identify and measure the complex components and determinants of that elusive aspiration the authors call health.

Art for better health and wellbeing

Art can inspire the medical world towards more personalised care, write Bastiaan R Bloem and colleagues

The complexity of shaping self‐management in daily practice

The study explores self‐management in practice, including the implications of the difficulties encountered, in many countries giving patients a more active role in health care.

Integrative Medicine in the Dutch healthcare system : prerequisites and tools for implementation

Integrative Medicine (IM) is a care approach that focuses on the overall well-being and healing process of patients rather than solely on their disease. IM educates and empowers people to be active



How should health be defined?

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The Conceptualization of Health

  • J. Larson
  • Medicine
    Medical care research and review : MCRR
  • 1999
In this article, four conceptual models of health are presented to summarize the current meanings for health and are a prelude to improving health status assessment in a variety of contexts.

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion.

  • D. Prevention
  • Political Science, Medicine
    WHO regional publications. European series
  • 1992
The first International Conference on Health Promotion was held in Ottawa, Canada in November 1986. The conference aimed for action to achieve 'Health for all' by the year 2000 and beyond. The

Hispanic Chronic Disease Self-Management: A Randomized Community-Based Outcome Trial

This community-based program has the potential to improve the lives of Hispanics with chronic illness while reducing emergency room use and demonstrating improved health status, health behavior, and self-efficacy.

Evidence suggesting that a chronic disease self-management program can improve health status while reducing hospitalization: a randomized trial.

An intervention designed specifically to meet the needs of a heterogeneous group of chronic disease patients, including those with comorbid conditions, was feasible and beneficial beyond usual care in terms of improved health behaviors and health status.

Assessment of function in routine clinical practice: description of the COOP Chart method and preliminary findings.

Successful aging in the oldest old: Who can be characterized as successfully aged?

Analysis of data from the first cross-sectional part of the longitudinal Leiden 85-plus Study showed that most elderly persons viewed success as a process of adaptation rather than a state of being, and only a happy few meet the criteria.

The WHO Family of International Classifications

The concept of the Family of International Classifications has been created to have a common framework and language to report, compile, use, and compare health information at the national and

Increase in prefrontal cortical volume following cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The findings indicate that the cerebral atrophy associated with CFS is partially reversed after effective CBT, and provides an example of macroscopic cortical plasticity in the adult human brain, demonstrating a surprisingly dynamic relation between behavioural state and cerebral anatomy.