In 1948, the World Health Assembly defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  In 1986 the World Health Organization in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion said health is “a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.” Classification systems such as the WHO Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC) (composed of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)) also define health.
Aspects of health
Physical fitness is good body health, and is the result of regular exercise, proper diet and nutrition, and proper rest for physical recovery.
A strong indicator of the health of localized population is their height|weight, which generally increases with improved nutrition and health care. This is also influenced by the standard of living and quality of life. Genetics also plays a major role in people's height. The study of human growth, its regulators, and implications is known as Auxology.
Mental health refers to an individual's emotional and psychological well-being. Merriam-Webster defines mental health as "A state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life."
According to the World Health Organization, there is no single "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. In general, most experts agree that "mental health" and "mental illness" are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of sound mental health.
One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person functions. Feeling capable and competent; being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintain satisfying relationships, and lead an independent life; and being able to "bounce back," or recover from difficult situations, are all signs of mental health.
A combination of physical, emotional, social and most importantly mental well-being is necessary to achieve overall health.
Determinants of health
The LaLonde report suggested that there are four general determinants of health including human biology, environment, lifestyle, and healthcare services. Thus, health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of health science, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyle choices of the individual and society.
A major environmental factor is water quality, especially for the health of infants and children in developing countries.
Studies show that in developed countries, the lack of neighborhood recreational space that includes the natural environment leads to lower levels of neighborhood satisfaction and higher levels of obesity; therefore, lower overall well being. Therefore, the positive psychological benefits of natural space in urban neighborhoods should be taken into account in public policy and land use.
Achieving health and remaining healthy is an active process. Effective strategies for staying healthy and improving one's health include the following elements:
The updated USDA food pyramid, published in 2005, is a general nutrition guide for recommended food consumption.
Nutrition is the science that studies how people eat affects their health and performance, such as foods or food components that cause diseases or deteriorate health (such as eating too many calories, which is a major contributing factor to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease). The field of nutrition also studies foods and dietary supplements that improve performance, promote health, and cure or prevent disease, such as eating fibrous foods to reduce the risk of colon cancer, or supplementing with vitamin C to strengthen teeth and gums and to improve the immune system.
Personal health depends partially on the social structure of one’s life. The maintenance of strong social relationships is linked to good health conditions, longevity, productivity, and a positive attitude. This is due to the fact that positive social interaction as viewed by the participant increases many chemical levels in the brain which are linked to personality and intelligence traits. Essentially this means that positive reinforcement from a third party make one more socially adept, in control, and relaxed physically and mentally, all of which are proven to affect the nervous system (UHF).
Sports nutrition focuses the link between dietary supplements and athletic performance. One goal of sports nutrition is to maintain glycogen levels and prevent glycogen depletion. Another is to optimize energy levels and muscle tone. An athlete's strategy for winning an event may include a schedule for the entire season of what to eat, when to eat it, and in what precise quantities (before, during, after, and between workouts and events). Participants in endurance sports such as the full-distance triathlon actually eat during their races. Sports nutrition works hand-in-hand with sports medicine.
A U.S. Marine emerges from the water upon completing the swimming leg of a triathlon.
Exercise is the performance of movements in order to develop or maintain physical fitness and overall health. It is often directed toward also honing athletic ability or skill. Frequent and regular physical exercise is an important component to prevention of some of the diseases of affluence such as cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and back pain.
Exercises are generally grouped into three types depending on the overall effect they have on the human body:
• Flexibility exercises such as stretching improve the range of motion of muscles and joints.
• Aerobic exercises such as walking and running focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance and muscle density.
• Anaerobic exercises such as weight training or sprinting increase muscle mass and strength.
Physical exercise is considered important for maintaining physical fitness including healthy weight; building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints; promoting physiological well-being; reducing surgical risks; and strengthening the immune system.
Proper nutrition is just as, if not more, important to health as exercise. When exercising it becomes even more important to have good diet to ensure the body has the correct ratio of macronutrients whilst providing ample micronutrients; this is to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise. When the body falls short of proper nutrition, it gets into starvation mode developed through evolution and depends onto fat content for survival. Research suggest that the production of thyroid hormones can be negatively affected by repeated bouts of dieting and calorie restriction. Proper rest and recovery is also as important to health as exercise, otherwise the body exists in a permanently injured state and will not improve or adapt adequately to the exercise.
The above two factors can be compromised by psychological compulsions (eating disorders such as exercise bulimia, anorexia, and other bulimias), misinformation, a lack of organization, or a lack of motivation. These all lead to a decreased state of health.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can occur after any exercise, particularly if the body is in an unconditioned state relative to that exercise and the exercise involves repetitive eccentric contractions.
Hygiene is the practice of keeping the body clean to prevent infection and illness, and the avoidance of contact with infectious agents. Hygiene practices include bathing, brushing and flossing teeth, washing hands especially before eating, washing food before it is eaten, cleaning food preparation utensils and surfaces before and after preparing meals, and many others. This may help prevent infection and illness. By cleaning the body, dead skin cells are washed away with the germs, reducing their chance of entering the body.
Main article: Stress management
Prolonged psychological stress may negatively impact health, such as by weakening the immune system. See negative effects of the fight-or-flight response. Stress management is the application of methods to either reduce stress or increase tolerance to stress. Certain nootropics do both. Exercising to improve physical fitness, especially cardiovascular fitness, boosts the immune system and increases stress tolerance. Relaxation techniques are physical methods used to relieve stress. Examples include progressive relaxation and fractional relaxation. Psychological methods include cognitive therapy, meditation, and positive thinking which work by reducing response to stress. Improving relevant skills and abilities builds confidence, which also reduces the stress reaction to situations where those skills are applicable. Reducing uncertainty, by increasing knowledge and experience related to stress-causing situations, has the same effect. Learning to cope with problems better, such as improving problem solving and time management skills, may also reduce stressful reaction to problems. Repeatedly facing an object of one's fears may also desensitize the fight-or-flight response with respect to that stimulus -- e.g., facing bullies may reduce fear of bullies.
Health care is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well being through the services offered by the medical, nursing, and allied health professions. According to the World Health Organization, health care embraces all the goods and services designed to promote health, including “preventive, curative and palliative interventions, whether directed to individuals or to populations”. The organized provision of such services may constitute a health care system. This can include a specific governmental organization such as the National Health Service in the UK, or a cooperation across the National Health Service and Social Services as in Shared Care.
Workplace wellness programs
Workplace wellness programs are recognized by an increasingly large number of companies for their value in improving the health and well-being of their employees, and for increasing morale, loyalty, and productivity. Workplace wellness programs can include things like onsite fitness centers, health presentations, wellness newsletters, access to health coaching, tobacco cessation programs and training related to nutrition, weight and stress management. Other programs may include health risk assessments, health screenings and body mass index monitoring.