What is Health?

Sustainability International recognizes the complex nature of health and the importance of drivers, stressors, and determinants of health. Our mission surrounding health is “to improve health of indigenous peoples through community-based efforts that address health promotion and disease prevention.”

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 is driven and impacted by multiple factors. When we consider health, we must recognize the many complex relationships involved.

Social determinants of health play a vital role in the health of individuals, communities, and nations. The World Health Organization defines social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.” Social determinants of health not only influence physical health but also mental health and overall well-being.

 

Mental health is more than the absence of disorder, and is influenced by social, environmental, economic, and biological factors. Poverty, stress, exclusion, discrimination, and poor physical health are associated with mental health impairment. Human rights violations have also been associated with poor mental health.

 

Well-being can be difficult to define. Indicators of well-being include contentment, satisfaction, happiness, feeling at ease, and feeling safe. Well-being with regard to health includes physical well-being, psychological and emotional well-being, social and economic well-being, and having opportunities for development and activity.

 

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