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A Biased View of Harvard Health: Health Information and Medical Information

Level of practical or metabolic effectiveness of a living being Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in which illness and infirmity are absent.

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The significance of health has developed in time. In keeping with the biomedical viewpoint, early meanings of health concentrated on the theme of the body's capability to function; health was viewed as a state of regular function that could be disrupted from time to time by disease. An example of such a definition of health is: "a state characterized by anatomic, physiologic, and psychological integrity; capability to carry out personally valued household, work, and neighborhood functions; capability to deal with physical, biological, psychological, and social stress". Then in 1948, in an extreme departure from previous meanings, the World Health Company (WHO) proposed a definition that intended greater: linking health to well-being, in regards to "physical, mental, and social well-being, and not simply the absence of disease and imperfection".

For a long period of time, it was set aside as an unwise perfect and most discussions of health went back to the usefulness of the biomedical model. Simply as there was a shift from viewing illness as a state to thinking of it as a procedure, the same shift happened in definitions of health. Once again, the WHO played a leading role when it promoted the development of the health promotion movement in the 1980s. This brought in a new conception of health, not as a state, but in vibrant terms of resiliency, in other words, as "a resource for living". In 1984 WHO revised the meaning of health specified it as "the level to which a private or group is able to understand aspirations and please needs and to alter or manage the environment.