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HLTH 102
Scott Leatherdale

HLTH 102| 1/13/2013 “How should we define health?” (Topic One: BMJ Article)  WHO definition of Health o a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and note merely the absence of diseases of infirmity  This definition has been scrutinised for decades due to several limitations and is intensifying as the population age and pattern of illnesses changes o May even make the definition counterproductive  Macteld Huber and colleagues propose changing the definition to something along the lines of “the ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of social, physical and emotional challenge”  Three Limitations of the WHO definition of health o The absoluteness of the word complete in relation to well-being  Contributes to the medicalization of society  Requirement of complete health make most of us unhealthy  SUPPORTS the tendencies of medical technologies and drug industries  New screening detect abnormal. That may never cause illness in the first place (e.g. benign tumour)  Pharmaceuticals companies produce drugs for conditions that were no previously defined as health problems  Threshold for intervention is lowered (BP. Cholesterol, sugar) o More people have access to screening where maybe only one person may benefit o Also may result in higher levels of medical dependency and risk o Demography of pop’n and nature of disease have changed  Demography  1948, acute disease presented as main burden of disease and chronic diseases lead to early death  in this cause WHO def’n works  Nature of the Disease  Disease patterns have changed with many public health interventions (↑ nutrition , hygiene and sanitation and powerful healthcare interventions)  Number of people living with chronic diseases for decades have increased  Chronic diseases have become the norm and account of most of the expenses in the health care system o This puts pressure on sustainability  WHO defines people with chronic disease as definitely ill  Does not take into consideration the role of human capacity to cope autonomously with life’s every day challenges (in physical, social and emotional sense) or a person ability to function with fulfillment and a feeling of wellbeing o Operationalism of the definition  Complete health is neither operational or measurable  Even though WHO has developed several systems to describe healthy, disability and quality of life  Need for reformulation o Closest doc. that is the Ottawa Charter o Limitation are affecting health policy  In preventative health, def. of health determines outcome measure  Increase in coping capacity may be more relevant and realistic than complete recovery 1 HLTH 102| 1/1
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