Definition of Health Essay

1237 Words Sep 21st, 2006 5 Pages
Definition of Health One can define health negatively, as the absence of illness, or positively, as fitness and well-being. Health also implies good prospects for continued survival. The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity"(Health, 2006). This writer defines health not only as the absence of illlness but also as being healthy as it relates to health promotion. Health promotion is the science and art of helping people change their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health. Optimal health is defined as a "balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health" (O'Donnell, n.d.). …show more content…
Many behavioral changes are difficult to make. Take smoking for an example. People generally know how dangerous smoking is their health yet they continue to smoke. The risk of developing lung cancer is 10 times greater for smokers than for nonsmokers. Those who smoke 2 or more packs of cigarettes a day are 15 to 25 times more likely to die of lung cancer than nonsmokers (Smoking from all sides, 2004). This year, more than 450,000 Americans will die prematurely of diseases linked to smoking. That is as many Americans as have been killed in all the wars fought in this century and more than the combined annual death tolls from alcohol, illegal drugs, traffic accidents, suicide and homicide. Worldwide, even the most conservative estimates place the number of avoidable deaths caused by smoking at well above 2 million a year (Smoking from all sides (2004). Smoking causes about 30% of all cancers, including cancer of the lungs, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, bladder and pancreas. It is also a major cause of heart disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Pregnant women who smoke have higher rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and complications of pregnancy. More of their babies die soon after birth than newborns of nonsmoking mothers (Smoking from all sides, 2004). So one might ask, why does this writer smoke? There is no logical, rational answer to that question. Most smokers spend countless hours during

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