The great positive impact of public health programs is widely acknowledged. Due in part to the policies and actions developed through public health, the 20th century registered a decrease in the mortality rates for infants and children and a continual increase in life expectancy in most parts of the world. For example, it is estimated that life expectancy has increased for Americans by thirty years since 1900, and worldwide by six years since 1990.
The World Health Organization describes mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Mental Health is not just the absence of mental illness.
The term was partly inspired by the preamble to the World Health Organization’s 1948 constitution which said: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It was initially brought to use in the US by Halbert L. Dunn, M.D. in the 1950s; Dunn was the chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics and discussed “high-level wellness,” which he defined as “an integrated method of functioning, which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable.” The term “wellness” was then adopted by John Travis who opened a “Wellness Resource Center” in Mill Valley, California in the mid-1970s, which was seen by mainstream culture as part of the hedonistic culture of Northern California at that time and typical of the Me generation. Travis marketed the center as alternative medicine, opposed to what he said was the disease-oriented approach of medicine. The concept was further popularized by Robert Rodale through Prevention magazine, Bill Hetler, a doctor at University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, who set up an annual academic conference on wellness, and Tom Dickey, who established the Berkeley Wellness Letter in the 1980s. The term had become accepted as standard usage in the 1990s.
Genetics, or inherited traits from parents, also play a role in determining the health status of individuals and populations. This can encompass both the predisposition to certain diseases and health conditions, as well as the habits and behaviors individuals develop through the lifestyle of their families. For example, genetics may play a role in the manner in which people cope with stress, either mental, emotional or physical. For example, obesity is a significant problem in the United States that contributes to bad mental health and causes stress in the lives of great numbers of people. (One difficulty is the issue raised by the debate over the relative strengths of genetics and other factors; interactions between genetics and environment may be of particular importance.)
In the first decade of the 21th century, the conceptualization of health as an ability opened the door for self-assessments to become the main indicators to judge the performance of efforts aimed at improving human health. It also created the opportunity for every person to feel healthy, even in the presence of multiple chronic diseases, or a terminal condition, and for the re-examination of determinants of health, away from the traditional approach that focuses on the reduction of the prevalence of diseases.
Future historians may wonder how we stayed calm in the face of 2017’s global economic and nuclear threats let local drug overdosing, homelessness and, for many, unreachable real-estate prices. They may also conclude that 2018’s perils vastly exceeded those before. For now, though, here are some folk from this column who helped give 2017 its […]
Personal health also depends partially on the social structure of a person’s life. The maintenance of strong social relationships, volunteering, and other social activities have been linked to positive mental health and also increased longevity. One American study among seniors over age 70, found that frequent volunteering was associated with reduced risk of dying compared with older persons who did not volunteer, regardless of physical health status. Another study from Singapore reported that volunteering retirees had significantly better cognitive performance scores, fewer depressive symptoms, and better mental well-being and life satisfaction than non-volunteering retirees.
Jump up ^ Björk J, Albin M, Grahn P, Jacobsson H, Ardö J, Wadbro J, Ostergren PO (2008). “Recreational Values of the Natural Environment in Relation to Neighborhood Satisfaction, Physical Activity, Obesity and Well being” (PDF). Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 62 (4): e2. doi:10.1136/jech.2007.062414. PMID 18365329.
Since the late 1970s, the federal Healthy People Initiative has been a visible component of the United States’ approach to improving population health. In each decade, a new version of Healthy People is issued, featuring updated goals and identifying topic areas and quantifiable objectives for health improvement during the succeeding ten years, with assessment at that point of progress or lack thereof. Progress has been limited to many objectives, leading to concerns about the effectiveness of Healthy People in shaping outcomes in the context of a decentralized and uncoordinated US health system. Healthy People 2020 gives more prominence to health promotion and preventive approaches and adds a substantive focus on the importance of addressing social determinants of health. A new expanded digital interface facilitates use and dissemination rather than bulky printed books as produced in the past. The impact of these changes to Healthy People will be determined in the coming years.
Jump up ^ “OECD.StatExtracts, Health, Non-Medical Determinants of Health, Body weight, Overweight or obese population, self-reported and measured, Total population” (Online Statistics). OECD’s iLibrary. 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
Physical exercise enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It strengthens muscles and improves the cardiovascular system. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) there are four types of exercise; Endurance, Strength, Flexibility, and Balance. Endurance exercises are those that will elevate your heart rate including; walking, jogging, running, hiking etc. 
Environmental wellness inspires us to live a lifestyle that is respectful of our surroundings. This realm encourages us to live in harmony with the Earth by taking action to protect it. Environmental well-being promotes interaction with nature and your personal environment. Everyone can have a strong environmental conscious simply by raising their awareness.
EDMONTON – Nine cases of gastro-intestinal illness (seven in Edmonton and two in Calgary) potentially linked to consumption of raw oysters from British Columbia are under investigation prompting Alberta Health Services (AHS) to remind all Albertans of the risk of illness associated with consumption of raw shellfish, and important precautions to protect themselves.
Roughly a quarter of all adults 18 and over in the US are considered diagnosable with mental illness. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada. Examples include, schizophrenia, ADHD, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and autism.
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
Jump up ^ World Health Organization. Regional Office for Europe (1984). Health promotion : a discussion document on the concept and principles : summary report of the Working Group on Concept and Principles of Health Promotion, Copenhagen, 9–13 July 1984 (ICP/HSR 602(m01)5 p). Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Public health has been described as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.” It is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic). Public health has many sub-fields, but typically includes the interdisciplinary categories of epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Environmental health, community health, behavioral health, and occupational health are also important areas of public health.
Jump up ^ Jadad, Alejandro R. (2016-11-01). “Creating a pandemic of health: What is the role of digital technologies?”. Journal of Public Health Policy. 37 (2): 260–268. doi:10.1057/s41271-016-0016-1. ISSN 0197-5897.
Prolonged psychological stress may negatively impact health, and has been cited as a factor in cognitive impairment with aging, depressive illness, and expression of disease. Stress management is the application of methods to either reduce stress or increase tolerance to stress. Relaxation techniques are physical methods used to relieve stress. Psychological methods include cognitive therapy, meditation, and positive thinking, which work by reducing response to stress. Improving relevant skills, such as problem solving and time management skills, reduces uncertainty and builds confidence, which also reduces the reaction to stress-causing situations where those skills are applicable.
Sleep is an essential component to maintaining health. In children, sleep is also vital for growth and development. Ongoing sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk for some chronic health problems. In addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to correlate with both increased susceptibility to illness and slower recovery times from illness. In one study, people with chronic insufficient sleep, set as six hours of sleep a night or less, were found to be four times more likely to catch a cold compared to those who reported sleeping for seven hours or more a night. Due to the role of sleep in regulating metabolism, insufficient sleep may also play a role in weight gain or, conversely, in impeding weight loss. Additionally, in 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is the cancer research agency for the World Health Organization, declared that “shiftwork that involves circadian disruption is probably carcinogenic to humans,” speaking to the dangers of long-term nighttime work due to its intrusion on sleep. In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation released updated recommendations for sleep duration requirements based on age and concluded that “Individuals who habitually sleep outside the normal range may be exhibiting signs or symptoms of serious health problems or, if done volitionally, may be compromising their health and well-being.”
Jump up ^ Schwingel A, Niti MM, Tang C, Ng TP (2009). “Continued work employment and volunteerism and mental well-being of older adults: Singapore longitudinal ageing studies”. Age and Ageing. 38 (5): 531–7. doi:10.1093/ageing/afp089. PMID 19474036.
Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to live a higher quality life. Wellness matters. Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.
Public health also takes various actions to limit the health disparities between different areas of the country and, in some cases, the continent or world. One issue is the access of individuals and communities to health care in terms of financial, geographical or socio-cultural constraints to accessing and using services. Applications of the public health system include the areas of maternal and child health, health services administration, emergency response, and prevention and control of infectious and chronic diseases.
Mental illness is described as ‘the spectrum of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral conditions that interfere with social and emotional well-being and the lives and productivity of people. Having a mental illness can seriously impair, temporarily or permanently, the mental functioning of a person. Other terms include: ‘mental health problem’, ‘illness’, ‘disorder’, ‘dysfunction’.
Emotional wellness relates to understanding your feelings and coping effectively with stress. It is important to pay attention to self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner resources so you can learn and grow from experiences.
There are eight dimensions of wellness: occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual. Each dimension of wellness is interrelated with another. Each dimension is equally vital in the pursuit of optimum health. One can reach an optimal level of wellness by understanding how to maintain and optimize each of the dimensions of wellness.
By the late 2000s the concept had become widely used in employee assistance programs in workplaces, and funding for development of such programs in small business was included in the Affordable Care Act.
The definition of health has evolved over time. In keeping with the biomedical perspective, early definitions of health focused on the theme of the body’s ability to function; health was seen as a state of normal function that could be disrupted from time to time by disease. An example of such a definition of health is: “a state characterized by anatomic, physiologic, and psychological integrity; ability to perform personally valued family, work, and community roles; ability to deal with physical, biological, psychological, and social stress”. Then in 1948, in a radical departure from previous definitions, the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed a definition that aimed higher: linking health to well-being, in terms of “physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. Although this definition was welcomed by some as being innovative, it was also criticized as being vague, excessively broad and was not construed as measurable. For a long time, it was set aside as an impractical ideal and most discussions of health returned to the practicality of the biomedical model.
Jump up ^ Stokes, J.; Noren, J.; Shindell, S. (1982-01-01). “Definition of terms and concepts applicable to clinical preventive medicine”. Journal of Community Health. 8 (1): 33–41. doi:10.1007/bf01324395. ISSN 0094-5145. PMID 6764783.
Social wellness helps you perform social roles effectively and comfortably, and create a support network. This dimension of wellness allows you to not only develop encouraging relationships with peers, but also intimate relationships with romantic partners.
Another health issue that causes death or contributes to other health problems is malnutrition, especially among children. One of the groups malnutrition affects most is young children. Approximately 7.5 million children under the age of 5 die from malnutrition, usually brought on by not having the money to find or make food (Shah, 2014).
Need help finding the nearest immunization clinic? Wondering how to find a family doctor? Looking for a program to manage chronic disease or need to sign up for prenatal classes? Call Health Link for all your questions around where to go for health care and help navigating the health system.
Achieving and maintaining health is an ongoing process, shaped by both the evolution of health care knowledge and practices as well as personal strategies and organized interventions for staying healthy.
An important way to maintain your personal health is to have a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods that provide nutrients to your body. Such nutrients give you energy and keep your body running. Nutrients help build and strengthen bones, muscles, and tendons and also regulate body processes (i.e. blood pressure). The food guide pyramid is a pyramid-shaped guide of healthy foods divided into sections. Each section shows the recommended intake for each food group (i.e. Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Sugars). Making healthy food choices is important because it can lower your risk of heart disease, developing some types of cancer, and it will contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
Jump up ^ “IARC Monographs Programme finds cancer hazards associated with shiftwork, painting and firefighting”. International Agency for Research on Cancer. December 5, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
As hope fades that Metro Vancouver’s housing crisis will end anytime soon, counsellors say they are helping more clients tackle the shame and misery that comes from sleeping in rodent-infested basement suites or staying with abusive partners while struggling to find a better home. Clients are identifying housing as having a major impact on their […]
Jump up ^ Bos, E.H.; Snippe, E.; de Jonge, P.; Jeronimus, B.F. (2016). “Preserving Subjective Wellbeing in the Face of Psychopathology: Buffering Effects of Personal Strengths and Resources”. PLoS ONE. 11 (3): e0150867. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150867. PMID 26963923.
Financial Wellness involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses. Money plays a critical role in our lives and not having enough of it impacts health as well as academic performance. Financial stress is repeatedly found to be a common source of stress, anxiety and fear for college students.
Many governments view occupational health as a social challenge and have formed public organizations to ensure the health and safety of workers. Examples of these include the British Health and Safety Executive and in the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which conducts research on occupational health and safety, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which handles regulation and policy relating to worker safety and health.