What is health?

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Ideas about health are influenced by a range of factors, such as media, gender and wealth/poverty. For example, wealth affects people's ideas about health, because wealthy individuals are more likely to opt for private health care. This would create a different opinion of health to those who use the NHS, because the quality of care would differ. Also, wealthy people are more likely to ask for a second opinion because they have the power to. Furthermore, members of society who live in poverty may have less access to the NHS, so they may think that healthcare isn't very good. People who live in poverty can in some cases be more fatalistic, so they may think that “we all die in the end, so it doesn't matter what we do that may affect our health”.

Gender also expresses different views of healthcare. For example, men tend to ignore health issues, which in the long run could be a dangerous thing to do. On the other hand, women are usually more concerned about their health, and would be more likely to get any issues checked with a healthcare specialist.

The World Health Organisation states that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or illness.” There are many opinions on this definition of health. Some people think it is too vague. There are lots of factors that affect ideas of health, for example age, gender and religion. Also, this definition excludes people with illness, mental health issues and people with disabilities. However, some people who consider themselves 'healthy', may consider it a good definition because it fits their state of health.

There are some negative ideas about health and the WHO definition. People who have no illness are considered healthy according to the WHO definition. This could result in people who are 'ill', to overeat, drink in excess, smoke or exercise less.

According to WebMD, “holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole...
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