File - Health and Human Development

Definitions of physical, social and
mental dimensions of health and
health status
Defining ‘health’
• What does the world ‘health’ mean to you?
– What are your perceptions of health?
– What images do you picture when you hear the
word ‘health’?
– What factors influence your view of health?
– How do your views differ from those of your
WHO definition of health (1946)
‘A state of complete physical, mental and social
wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease
or infirmity’
Ottawa Charter definition of health
‘To reach a state of complete, physical, mental
and social wellbeing, an individual or group
must be able to identify and realize aspirations,
to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the
environment. Health is, therefore, seen as a
resource for everyday life, not the objective of
living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing
social and personal resources, as well as physical
• The Charter identified the essential conditions
and resources for health as peace, shelter,
education, food, income, stable ecosystem,
sustainable resources, social justice and
Dimensions of health
Physical dimensions
Aspects include:
• ability to resist disease
• ability to recover from illness and injury
• sufficient energy, strength and coordination to
engage in daily physical activity
• appropriate weight and nutrition
Social dimensions
Aspects include:
• development and maintenance of social
interactions and relationships
• positive and effective communication
• cultivation of social skills
• positive contribution to the community
• accessing support services when needed
Mental dimensions
Aspects include:
• ability to understand and express emotions
• self confidence and positive self esteem
• ability to cope with challenging situations and
to deal with stress
• ability to solve problems
• capacity to love, work and play
Health status
• A way of measuring or describing the health of
individuals or populations
• Important data: Life expectancy, information
about diseases, comparisons with other
similar countries
• Information about the health status of a
population helps governments shape health
policies and to determine how health services
should be delivered
optimal health.
• A term that is sometimes used is optimal
• This is the best possible health to which
someone can realistically aspire, in some or all
of the three dimensions. Achieving a complete
state of optimal health means that an
individual experiences a balance of all these
dimensions; all three are important.
• Health is an important part of wellbeing, of how
people feel and function
• Health contributes to social and economic
• Health is not simply the absence of illness or
• There are degrees of good health as well as poor
or bad health
• It is important to see health in a broad social