How do we define health today?

What is health?

Medicine, to produce health, has to examine disease, and music, to create harmony, must investigate discord; and the supreme arts, of temperance, of justice and of wisdom…[blah, blah, blah, yada yada, drone drone] -Plutarch

For modern views on health, Jess Mador asked people in Knoxville Tennessee what health is, and what the greatest challenges to health are.

There are real and superficial definitions of health.
Some will use health to describe their ideal appearance, in order to sell products, or to further more nefarious agendas.  Others will simply say that health is not sickness.

I think there’s a debate on what is healthy, and sometimes well tested knowledge loses to the latest fad.

Appearance, ability, freedom from diagnosed illness, are all meant to point to the so-called “natural” and “healthy” state of things.  However, the use of the word “health” all depends on the context.

My favourite is a “healthy tan” which implies a happy and relaxing holiday. However, this “healthy” tan can lead to sun burn, skin cancer, or even wrinkles.  It can be caused by excruciating hard labour under the sun, or by lazing about instead of working.

In our times, the use of the word “health” often implies recovering from (or the treating of) illness.

“Be careful about reading health books. Some fine day you’ll die of a misprint.”
― Markus Herz

Food that is “healthy” is somethings low in fat and sugar, sometimes natural, and contains vitamins.
A lot of people joke that healthy food doesn’t taste nice. Sometimes the idea that something is healthy might mean it’s not enjoyable, like bad tasting medicine. But, we also hear that two of the largest causes of illness are stress and unhappiness.

Perhaps we don’t need a definition of health. Health should be most associated with variety.  When you repeatedly have the same thing, you say “I’m sick of it.”  New experiences, therefore, might be the hidden key to health.

Perhaps the French have the best definition of health.  When they are about to drink, they say “santé”, which means health and cheers at the same time.


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