What is Good Health?

Good health is a basic human right – it featured in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25) in 1948. It is also one of the core principles in the Constitution of the World Health Organization.

Below is a quote by David Stuckler, from his book, ‘The body economic: why austerity kills’:  “The ultimate source of any society’s wealth is its people. Investing in their health is a wise choice in the best of times, and an urgent necessity in the worst of times.”

What is health? The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales, Australia, describes health as “… not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but also the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community, in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being, thereby bringing about the total wellbeing of their community.” As human beings, we do not exist in a vacuum. We are products of the environments and societies in which we live.

Good health is not just about treating disease. We all have the opportunity for good health long before we need health care interventions. For example, the progression of the disease of dementia begins 30-40 years before symptoms of the disease are evident. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that has no cure, but can be prevented.