It is a well-known fact that the notions of health and active lifestyle are crucial to human existence. When the body and the mind are in good working order, the human being is content and satisfied with his/her life. When the organism is free from diseases and pain, the human being is released from various inconveniences and discomfort. Only under the above mentioned circumstances, it is possible to realize ambitions, to act independently, and to find harmony and happiness. Of course, to maintain the permanent state of wellbeing, it is important to understand the inner processes, to grade their complexity, and to overcome their consequences. The ability to compare the obtained knowledge with the up-to-date standards is also vital. No doubt, health care workers are in charge of assisting their patients in such cases. For instance, the calling of the nurse is to promote health and help to identify the most advantageous options for patients. However, no one has withdrawn personal responsibility for one’s wellness. No matter what treatment methods and recommendations are if the patient neglects them. Thus, every conscious individual should be competent in defining and interpreting the concept of health.
Since antiquity, people have paid exceptional attention to their physical strength. The word ‘health’ originated from Old English ‘hoelth’ signifying a sound shape of the body (Awofeso, 2015). Later on, Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician, regarded health as something given from above, a reward (Awofeso, 2015). To his mind, the state of physical fitness depended upon three constituents: surrounding sanitation, hygiene, and wholesome nourishment (Awofeso, 2015). In those times, the worldview of humanity was closely interwoven with religious belief. Therefore, numerous communities perceived common ideas in different manners. For example, the spiritual definition of health by Prophet Mohammed narrated that the life of a human is in hands of the Lord. It is He who cures the sick and decides to live or to die (Awofeso, 2015). Apparently, these interpretations have become obsolete over time. Although one cannot use them for further investigation, they serve a foundation for current investigations.
The most accepted and wide-spread theory of health is suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2006). This theory was described and formulated in the Constitution of the WHO. In compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, health is a condition of full physical, mental, and social wellness. It is not just a state of void, disease, or weakness (WHO, 2006). Besides, the WHO declares a right to attain health to be a universal one for everyone, irrespective of their race, religious or political belief, profit or social status (WHO, 2006).
The international association determines the government of the country to be liable for provision of quality health care to other citizens. It underlines the necessity of cooperation between the population and the state. The Constitution was signed on 22 July 1946. The parties of the agreement are 61 states, which confirmed the document (WHO, 2006). All other nations are free to join the WHO any time. The only requirement is to put a signature on the Constitution. The principal objective of the World Health Organization is to achieve the highest level of health. It controls and coordinates the authorities, collaborates with the United Nations, provides material and technical aid and services, informs the public of health issues, encourages health promotion in diverse spheres, ensures maternal, child, mental, and other welfare, etc. (WHO, 2006).
From these statements, it is clear that health definition by the WHO was considered to be the most correct and appropriate for that historical period. In the context of the post-war period it was urgent as far as it incorporated three key approaches. They are the balance of physical, mental, and social components. The target of this version is general audience. It encompasses a large range of people excluding any discrimination. In addition, children’s health is emphasized in order to support early development of kids. However, the notion circulates among the inhabitants of participating countries. Finally, the WHO promotes health by all means, in accordance with its Constitution. It fulfills legal regulations and functions as a warrant of the quality of health. Nonetheless, its juridical force can move into the practical area. It means that if the government takes central subjects seriously, it will be able to put the words into action. It is an ideal scenario for health promotion in any state.
The WHO presented an extensive conception of health that rapidly spread across the world. It has become a common description for many years. In spite of its popularity, some of the scientists have recently criticized the WHO’s view on health. On the one hand, they reassure that the interpretation goes back to 1948; hence it does not fit the present-day realities (Huber et al., 2011). On the other hand, researchers disapprove the application of the word ‘complete’ to the state of well-being. They explain that the increase of chronic diseases over the decade made it possible for thousands of people to live with them till the end of life (Huber et al., 2011). Consequently, a big deal of humans does not correspond to this formulation of health. Thus, the majority of experts agree that WHO’s definition is out-of-date.
Due to the incompleteness of the definition suggested by the WHO, the necessity to create a modern interpretation of health arises. Machteld Huber et al. (2011) offer their alternative. In their article, the authors put forward the idea that health is the ability of the organism to adapt and self-manage. To confirm the hypothesis, they examine this definition in regard to physical, mental, and social health. According to physiological capabilities, a sound body is able to set protection against stress, eliminate probable hazards, and arrange a recovery. The mental health presupposes the power of a human being to fight against psychological trauma. It was proved that the improvement of emotional sphere results in physical fitness. After all, the writers define social health as a changing equilibrium of options and obstructions that are constantly subject to outward forces (Huber et al., 2011). The contextual meaning of this definition reveals its modernized and fresh design. The authors made an attempt to grasp a wider range of audience. Thus, they included people with disabilities and chronically ill people as those who could adjust to the changeable surroundings. Finally, a health promotion aspect is completely dependent upon the personality’s conscious and responsibility. It is mostly because this definition rests upon notions of adaptation and self-management.
Another group of experts developed a new vision of health in concordance with Meikirch Model. They relate health to the progressive condition represented by physical, mental, and social wellness that meets the needs of a human in correspondence with age, culture, and individual reliability. And vice versa, if the organism does not satisfy the listed above characteristics, it can be called a disease (Samal & Bircher, 2011). According to this conception, the state of health incorporates two vital components: inborn potential and personally acquired one. Biological abilities are genetically programmed and given to the human being from the very beginning of his or her life. There is a tendency toward their reduction from the birth till death. Conversely, a personally acquired potential integrates the learned capacities that a living being gathers throughout its existence. In contrast to biological disposition, they increase during lifetime.
Besides these two elements, Meikirch Model of health involves the following constituent parts: demands of life, age, culture, and consciousness (Samal & Bircher, 2011). To survive, everyone must maintain the most comfortable conditions for his or her inner structure. It signifies satisfaction of basic human needs: having enough amount of food, protecting one’s body against possible dangers, wearing clothes, etc. (Samal & Bircher, 2011). The vivid advantage of this definition lies in its matching to almost any context. The authors of the theory take into account such variables as maturity, ethos, and accountability. That is why they cover the broadest audience. These are people of varied life stages and nationalities, who are determined to care about their health in all facets. The promotional standpoint grounds on the person’s readiness to maintain quality way of existence. It is clear that this definition of health seems to be the most organized, precise, and deep.
It is possible to apply one of the definitions to the given scenario. Namely, it is a family, in which a child has recently suffered an acute disease, pneumonia, and a grandparent, who has a chronic illness, congestive heart failure. Taking into consideration health peculiarities of the household members, the most relevant concept of health is the one based on Meikirch Model. First and foremost, it is appropriate for both temporary and chronically sick. Secondly, the relatives belong to different age groups and this theory will help to determine their strengths and weaknesses. It is especially important to analyze their inborn and acquired potential. For example, child’s biological abilities must be accompanied with hygiene, steady diet, and physical training. Meanwhile, senior people lack natural capacities. Thus, they should develop learned skills, for they will support them in old age. Finally, Meikirch Model concentrates on health promotion as well. It aims at encouraging an individual to self-develop, to improve and search new opportunities. It teaches to accommodate to external circumstances, even if a person has health problems.
When the nurse has thoroughly studied medical cards of both patients, it was a high time to identify core strategies of health promotion. The central methods applied to this family can be as follows: keeping balanced diet and schedule, having regular exercises, maintaining a pleasing environment, learning stress-resistant techniques, imitating behaviors, and excluding negative social factors. No doubt, the source of good health is an adequate nutrition and continuous physical activity. The whole family should be involved in counting the ingredients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The intake of food and liquid must be timely, frequent, and light but nourishing. As far as the age and case history of household members vary, the nurse is to modify the fitness program, correspondently. It is significant not to overload a senior representative with congestive heart failure. The other aspect to be ensured is a safe surrounding. The main task is to eliminate pollution and sensory irritation and keep house in order (Samal & Bircher, 2011). Establishment of friendly relationships with neighbors, colleagues, or fellows will promote social health. A risky part of life is objection of human beings to various kinds of stress. Therefore, a nurse has to instruct the patents how to overcome dangerous situations, how to express feelings, and how to communicate with others (Oregon Health Authority, 2012). If it is a complex case, one may invite a professional psychotherapist, who will practice positive psychology or cognitive behavioral therapy (Samal & Bircher, 2011). The last but not the least is to instill skills of personal liability, self-development, and identification to the family. All in all the suggested approaches to health promotion will probably turn out to be effective because they embrace physical, mental, and social well-being.
From these observations, one may conclude that the notion of health is quite ambiguous. However, health care specialists are constantly working to find the most actual definition. Currently, they admit that health depends not only upon one’s physical state, but upon the ability to take care of oneself as well. Consequently, the need to design modern means for health promotion appeared. It will allow to raise the quality of life, improve emotional and biological condition, and assist in public integration.