KIN 140 Section 1 Dr Mike Walsh
I. Components of Wellness
Health used to be thought of as freedom from disease. Now, as our medical knowledge
expands, it has come to mean much more. It now incorporates mental aspects and one’s
own actions. It is now a dynamic concept and not a static one. It now includes one’s
attitude or approach to life. The components that now make up health or wellness include
the following (Fig 1-1):
A. Physical Wellness
This is the freedom from disease part as well as actions to maintain physical health such
as exercise, proper nutrition, and regular medical/dental checkups. Other actions are
preventative and include proper attitudes concerning smoking, alcohol, sexual activities,
and driving habits for example.
B. Emotional Wellness
Are you happy with your current situation? Do you have confidence, esteem, and trust?
Or are you always worried that something will go wrong? Preparing well for your exams
helps to achieve emotional wellness. Emotional wellness incorporates other
psychological aspects: it is a dynamic state that fluctuates with the other components of
C. Intellectual Wellness
Creativity, a sense of humor, and openness to new ideas reflect a dynamic (rather than
static) intellectual wellness. One definition of aging is the unwillingness to try new
D. Spiritual Wellness
Is love a 2-way street in your life? What is greater inside of you: altruism or self-
absorption? Whether spiritual wellness is attained by organized religion or personal
development does not matter; the end is more important than the means.
E. Interpersonal and Social Wellness
If you put yourself in total isolation for a few weeks you will begin to appreciate the
value of quality social contact. Do you communicate well with others? Do you give well?
Do you receive well? Do you contribute to the community around you or are you just a
big sinkhole that only receives from the community.
F. Environmental and Planetary Wellness
This global concept includes a vast number of environmental problems from second hand
smoke to ozone depletion over Antarctica. Obviously, just acting on one of these can fill
any spare time in your life.
II. Factors That Influence Wellness
As we learn more about our 20,000+ genes, we learn that genetics plays a more
prominent role in a wide variety of diseases than previously thought. This applies not
only to the disease itself but also in the actions we take to treat the disease or to reduce
risk in the first place.
Some diseases are concentrated in certain gene pools.
Sickle-cell disease occurs almost exclusively among people of African heritage.
Tay-Sachs disease afflicts people of Eastern European Jewish heritage.
Cystic fibrosis is more common among Northern Europeans
Many cultural differences occur along ethnic lines including the following:
Patterns of family and interpersonal relationships 3
Attitudes toward tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
Health beliefs and practices.
Men are more likely to develop heart disease and have higher rates of death from injuries,
suicide, homicide, and HIV/AIDS.
Women live longer than men do. Women have more reproductive-associated health
problems. They are also at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease and major depression.
C. Income and Education
In many instances, the groups with the highest poverty rate and/or lowest education have
the worst health status.
These groups have the highest rate of infant mortality, traumatic injury, and violent death
as well as heart disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, and HIV infection.
These individuals are more likely to suffer from poor nutrition, be overweight, smoke,
drink, and use drugs.
In our society, poverty and low education is often associated with a limited number of
ethnic groups. We often blame certain social/health problems on the ethnic groups rather
than more correctly on the poverty/education status.
One in five people