Seven Dimensions of Wellness
In the United States, a good health means having reasonable access to good quality health care, the ability to afford quality health care, and an overall satisfaction with his or her health (or the lack of health). It is defined by the World Health Organization, as “a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of sickness and disease.” A wide variety of public health concepts have been applied to form a more inclusive definition of health. Some of these concepts are detailed in this article. Other concepts are not covered in this article because they do not pertain to a person’s ability to obtain quality health care.
One of the broad notions that underlies the meaning of health is that it is an essential component of a healthy life. Another broad idea underlies the meaning of health promotion and prevention. According to this concept, health promotion and prevention involve changes in behavior and environment. People may choose to avoid disease prevention or seek disease treatment depending upon their decisions. The following broad ideas regarding health promotion and prevention are not intended to be considered as all inclusive.
The ability to use public health services and procedures is described in the context of individual behavior. Various studies have found that people who use public health services and procedures are more likely to visit doctors and nurses when they become ill or injured. Individuals who are more health conscious and aware of their own health status are less likely to develop heart disease or be hospitalized due to acute illness.
Social determinants also affect public health. Socio-economic class, race, gender, ethnicity, and location are examples of social determinants. The availability of good health care is one of the major determinants of the level of societal well-being. Those who reside in rural and low-income communities, along with persons who live in urban gated communities, are at higher risk for poor health.
The quality of the physical environment and the social environment are considered as separate components of the quality of life. The physical environment is influenced by physical hazards such as pollution, smoking, ultraviolet light, and poor weather. On the other hand, the social environment is affected by social factors such as attitudes towards health, safety, cleanliness, and recreation. These factors can affect physical illness and the likelihood of acquiring a certain disease or illness symptom.
Overall health is determined by combinations of the individual characteristics, the sociological factors, the physical environment, and the social factors. Health promotion and maintenance focuses on these seven dimensions. These include physical fitness, wellness, nutrition, behavior modifications, stress management, and interventions. These aspects have positive effects on quality of life and contribute to achieving optimal levels of wellness.