Live Space

Listening Diary 003


Changing our understanding of health


subject: Health

broadcast on 1st July 2006 Listen on 1st July 2006


The concept of health holds different meanings for different people and groups. These meanings of health have also changed over time. This change is no more evident than in Western society today, when notions of health and health promotion are being challenged and expanded in new ways.

For much of recent Western history, health has been viewd in the physical sense only. That is, good health has been connected to the smooth mechanical operation of the body,while ill health has been attributed to a breakdown in this machine. Health in this sense has been defined as the absence of disease or illnes and is seen medical terms. According to this view, creating health for people means providing medical care to treat or prevent disease and illness. During this period, there was an emphasis on providing clean water, omproved sanitation and housing.

The World Health Organisation stated that “health is a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being and is not merely the absence of disease( WHO 1946). Health and the person were seen more holistically and not just in physical term.