Define 'Health' in the Context of Health and Social Care.

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The Oxford dictionaries (2010) defined health as: ‘1) the state of being free from illness or injury; 2) a person’s mental or physical conditions’. The same dictionary defined wellbeing as: ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy‘. Both health and wellbeing combined together can be defined as the sum of physical, mental, social and emotional part of a person. These are the ‘resources’ for health according to WHO’s 1986 Ottawa Charter, (Earle, 2007). It’s also inline with the health definition of the World Health Organisation (WHO 1946, Earle, 2007): ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’.

According to Earle (2007), health is a multifaceted concept and there are a range of definitions held by various people according to their socioeconomic status, cultural differences such as class, age, ethnicity and gender. For example, in Activity 18 (K311, Learning Guide 1, Activity 18, Audio: ‘Influences on health’), the lay and professional people held various health concepts which map onto the eighteen key concepts of health identified by Hughner & Kleine (Earl, 2007). While the professional people described health and wellbeing in acquainted approach, the lay people tend to describe health according to their experiences, commonsense, believes and medical science, (Blaxter, 2004) For example, Health Development Officer Woods’s defined health as taking responsibility for the health of her physical body and mental wellbeing, while unemployed Thompson said ‘although I eat fatty unhealthy food, this gives me no harm except the cholesterol I have. But I feel fit and healthy’. Although they are different in their understandings and descriptions of health, they are not polar opposite to each other but are rather separate perceptions as founded Herzlich, (1973) in Earle, (2007).

Thompson’s view is in agreement with the Scottish Executive (Earl, 2007) definition of wellbeing: ‘A person’s sense...
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