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Lecture 1 - What is Health?

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Western University
Health Sciences
Health Sciences 2000A/B
Leichelle Little

LECTURE 1: WHAT IS HEALTH? WHEN IS HEALTH UNHEALTHY? Learning Objectives • Apply the four models of health to a real life example • Compare the different models: including benefits and limitations to each • Recognize the fundamental objective of the World Health Organization, and how it relates to the individual and society • Evaluate key components of health involved with the four models • Theorize how different perceptions of health and wellness are influenced by technology • Explore the importance of defining health on an individual level and community level • Create your own definition of health after considering various perspectives and definitions Complete Obsession • Apotemnophilia: an attraction to the idea of being an amputee o Xenomelia – “the oppressive feeling that one or more limbs of one’s body do not belong to one’s self” • Large number of people interested: one discussion group has 1,400 subscribers • Are Corinne and Gregg considered healthy? Why or why not? • If they became an amputee would they be considered healthy? • Using this case study as an example: discuss the benefits and limitations of the model Medical Model • Definition of health: absence of disease or disability • Treatment: the body as a machine, to be fixed when broken: restore balance • Research: medical research currently is centered around the medical model (although newer definitions of health are exerting an influence) BENEFITS LIMITATIONS • Highly productive in the advancement of the • Does not emphasize prevention medical sciences and health (Wood 1986) • Difficulty of adapting it to emotional and • Objectivist view: easily measured psychiatric disorders • Disease is more than biological as social and economic actors must be taken into account WHO • Created on April 7 1948 by the member states of the United Nations • Fundamental objective of “the attainment by all peoples o the highest possible level of health” • Challenged political, academic, community, and professional organizations devoted to improving or preserving health to be accountable for their work WHO Model • Definition of health: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (United Nations 1984) • Prevention: preventive care is widely practiced, with routine physicals and vaccinations • Research: used in important health studies – more emphasis on the connection between physical and mental health Social Health • Individuals as social beings whose health is affected by social behavior and interaction • Alameda County study; first study to look at nature and extent of social networks (marriage, close friends, relatives, etc.) o Found that social networks have broad health consequences • Collective – social networks • Individual – social participation in activities and interpersonal interactions BENEFITS LIMITATIONS • A somewhat comprehensive definition of • Social factors: independent dimension of health health? • Developed more practical norms for mental • No consensus on the meaning of well-being and social health in the definition • Criticized by some as too abstract: has a goal more than a guideline for concrete action • Difficult to measure health in a sense that would satisfy usual scientific criteria Wellness Model • Definition of health: health is greatly influenced by personal feelings – energy, comfort, and the ability to perform: linka
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