Public Health Vs Private Health
The quest for health has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Ancient people often lived with little or no health insurance, and diseases and accidents were more common than they have ever been. Today, health care is a major concern for most Americans. In an age of increasing urbanization and medical modernization, access to health care is more important than ever.
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “the state of full physical, mental and emotional well-being with no limitations.” A number of definitions have been applied over the years for different purposes. However, health promotion is a concept that is related to the primary goal of medical care. It refers to the practice of promoting healthy environments in which individuals can live and work well. Healthy environments encompass everything that affects an individual’s well-being – from the foods they eat to the products they use, from the medicines they take to the devices they drive to the medical services they receive.
The idea of promoting health originated in ancient Greece. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, first identified five essential disease concepts, including pain, Reference values, disease definition, prevention and cure. He concluded that there were five basic principles of good health: cleanliness, food, bodily movement, respiration and sleep. According to Hippocrates, the key to life was harmony, and all of these areas could be improved through careful observation, testing and evaluation.
In ancient Rome, Pliny the Younger identified three groups of persons: the young, the aged and the sick. Young adults, he felt, required preventive measures against sickness and disease so as to maintain their vitality throughout life. The old were more vulnerable to disease in part because of their lack of knowledge and experience. They were also more vulnerable to death because of the fact that their physical presence was no longer a physical threat. The key to public health, therefore, was to promote early life course prevention and early diagnosis of sickness.
These days, public health is focused on issues like childhood obesity, smoking and exercise habits, all of which are associated with increased risks for overweight and obesity, as well as other chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer. Good health, however, encompasses much more than good physical look, weight or muscle tone. A person who looks good is far from healthy and may be able to improve his or her health through changes in diet, exercise and daily routine. A physically fit person has a higher energy level and higher self-esteem, which is one of the primary components of good health. A physically fit adult is less likely to develop illnesses that can threaten or slow down his or her well-being.
What about mental health? Many have argued that mental wellness, although often not seen as a discretely medical issue, should be as accessible as physical illness. A strong public mental health system ensures greater access to mental health services and much debate still rages on the best way to treat mental illness. In light of the increasing complexity of modern man, however, the debate over public mental health versus private healthcare will likely continue to rage for many years to come.