A Brief Define of the Life Course Concept
Health is the state of mind in which infirmity and disease are absent. It refers to the body’s total condition from head to toe, in the sense that health is a balance between the elements. The totality of our being is health, and it is an interdependent, reciprocal entity that require care and attention to maintain its appropriate balance. When one part is off kilter, the other component is affected, and health is the result of the whole. If we consider health as a sum, then the individual components, which make up the sum, will be restored to their appropriate values, and the equilibrium can thus be maintained.
To illustrate this proposition, we can take the word “disease” and redefine it for purposes of discussion. We first of all have to decide what a disease is. Then we have to decide what an infirmity or disability is. Finally we have to select a definition of health promotion. If these definitions are not mutually exclusive then the definition of health promotion as a whole is rendered vague and therefore incomplete. This means that health promotion is an act or a set of activities aimed at making health prevail in everyday life.
In the United States, as in most modern societies, health status is perceived as a function of the physical features of a person. Accordingly, some diseases are more prevalent among some groups of people than in others. Thus, while disease among the African-American community is thought to be due to inferior genetic background, diseases affecting middle-aged white women in the United States are thought to be caused by social patterns, such as those involving workplace stress. In this way, the perception of disease varies according to the group in question.
On the other hand, there are definitions of disease that refer to the entire course of a person’s life. Some examples are definitions of the meaning of life found in the Declaration of Independence, by American sociologist Emile Zola. Life course concepts are also seen in public health and educational campaigns, such as those that focus on encouraging children to eat healthy foods. Often the focus of such definitions is aging. However, other disease concepts have also been used to explain various conditions that affect people over time – for example, the definitions of AIDS and cancer. In many cases, the study of life courses requires a more intricate analysis, involving analysis of both public health and medical knowledge about diseases over different periods of history, ranging from prehistoric times to modern times.
Public health and medical knowledge about disease determine the identification of problems and the designing of preventive measures and treatment. For example, the prevalence of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer are all understood to be caused by underlying determinants (i.e., physical environment, food/drink habits, physical activity). Therefore, knowing what these determinants are can help researchers design interventions that can prevent or reduce the health status of many people. For instance, knowing that cigarette smoking and consumption of alcohol increase the risk of heart disease helps explain why it is so difficult to stop.
The difficulty of developing and implementing public health policies that achieve the desired reductions in chronic diseases is reflected in the fact that many countries still have failed to make significant progress. The definitions of long-term conditions continue to change, with no single definition being accepted universally. Likewise, there is little agreement on which indicators should be used to evaluate and monitor health. Finally, the process of evaluating potential interventions is complicated by the fact that some causative agents are not always known or recognized. These agents might include genetics, behavior, or psychological factors. Understanding how to determine the determinants of health is a challenge for researchers and practitioners alike.