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International Development and Globalization
Sonia Gulati

January 13, 2014 Segall “Measuring the Dimensions of Health” • If we believe that health is an objective state of being that is primarily the outcome of biophysical factors, then we are likely to rely on quantitative methods. • If health is viewed as a part of an ongoing process with socially constructed subjective meanings, then we rely on qualitative methods. • Good health is not something that is either completely present or absent. o As well, our personal interpretation towards “good health” may change as we grow older. o It is socially constructed and varies by culture and social group. o It is, thus, a concept that can be defined in a number of different ways; all of which have equal validity. • Dimensions of health are empirically correlated (ie. Occur together in our everyday lives) • Normal health consists of a combination of aspects of good and ill health. • Population health status; focuses on general populations or specific sub-populations (ie. University students). It focuses on the ill, on those who feel healthy, and those who consider themselves to be sick, thus avoiding medico-centrism. • Health is multi-faceted and includes o a physical dimension (the experience of signs of disease and symptoms of illness) o Psychological dimension (the feelings of well-being) o Social dimension (the capacity to form roles) • Researchers have pointed out that there is a lack of consensus about the meaning of population health. There is also a lack of theoretical foundation for contemporary population health research. • Salutogenic approach; tries to address the appropriate social conditions that underlie or facilitate health-promotive behaviours. • Good health consists of feelings of well-being and is more than just the absence of disease/illness. o According to WHO, good health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. o Though, it does not offer clear guidelines for measuring health and well-being. o Different from wellness as health is a process that can DEVELOP into wellness— it is a necessary but not sufficient condition. o Fitness is psychological health and social functioning. • Sickness is the presence of disease and the experience of illness. • Disease is an objective, biophysical phenomenon that is characterized by altered functioning of the body as a biological organism. o There are specific diseases that typically occur at certain stages of the lifespan and since expected, they tend to be viewed as normal. • Signs are indicators of bodily change that can be directly apparent (ie. Bleeding, swelling) while others may need diagnostic instruments (ie. Thermometer). o Feelings of illness can vary substantially among people with the same diagnosed disease. o Also possible for a person to feel ill without any detectable organic manifestations of disease. • Biomedicine demands the objective proof of the presence of disease or it is treated as a psychosomatic illness (may be all in the mind). • Illness is a subjective psychosocial phenomenon in which individuals perceive themselves as not feeling well and engage in different types of behaviour in an effort to overcome their ill health. • We need to critically some of our implicit assumptions about normality and health. • Health status designation; o Judgements about different levels of functioning
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