1.1.2  Broader perspectives of health

In the previous section you read about a narrow definition of health. This section will help you understand the concept of health in a broader and more holistic way, as defined in Box 1.2.

Box 1.2  Defining health 2

The most widely used of the broader definitions of health is that within the constitution of the World Health Organization (1948), which defines health as: ‘A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

This classic definition is important, as it identifies the vital components of health. To more fully understand the meaning of health, it is important to understand each of its individual components. The broader concept of health can help you as a Health Extension Practitioner when you are planning and implementing your health education activities at community level.

  • Think back to Serena. Describe her state of health.

  • Serena is mentally distressed. She does not by any means have ‘mental and social well-being’.

1.1.1  Narrow perspectives of health

1.2  Physical health