Our Health Report Card
Today in the United States we spend over one and a half trillion dollars a year on health care. That represents the highest spending per person in the world. With that entire investment one would think that Americans are the healthiest people in the world. And yet a recent report from the World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th in overall health. This certainly does not earn the United States an “A.” If you factor in the spending, it would even seem like we get an “F” in our state of health.
So with all this talk about health, the question is what is health?
The World Health Organization has defined an internationally recognized definition of health. According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
So let’s break this down.
Physical well-being is what the body lives through, enjoys and desires, as well as the agreement with which the body interacts with the environment.
Mental well-being is what a person thinks and the processes carried out by the brain. This also includes a spiritual balance for a state of mental harmony.
Social well-being is the harmony with which the body lives among other people and other life.
When all of these elements are in balance, a person is then considered healthy. With these factors as a measure, is it then so surprising that so many are considered to be unhealthy?
Physical health is not the apparent absence of illness. Most chronic diseases do not, come on suddenly. They grow through our body over time until finally the effects are severe enough to show symptoms. It is only the appearance of symptoms that may come on suddenly. So the absence of symptoms simply means the absence of symptoms.
In the US we have many dedicated health care professionals committing miracles in trauma care every day. For that the US most certainly gets an A, but with the definition of health provided by the World Health Organization, it is clear that the responsibility for health does lie with the doctor. It is our responsibility to focus on creating a balance in the factors of health. First for ourselves and then for others.