Health might well be described as being 'in the eye of the beholder'. An attempt at a global definition was made by the World Health Organisation (1948) : "Health is a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". The need for the latter part of this definition stems from the recognition that, over the last couple of centuries in 'Western-led' societies, discussion about health has been dominated by medically-based professionals (seeing health in terms of whether a diagnosed condition is present, in a body or mind seen distinctly from the rest of people's lives). Sociologists identify how different social groups 'construct' their own understandings of health, and how medics are one social group (albeit a powerful one) amongst many. Other social groups and cultures can also perceive health as related to, eg. individual coping, social support, ecologism, spirituality etc. --Different kinds of definitions are useful in various contexts e.g. functional health is a good approach to evaluate the health of eldery people or work ability -- The problem raised by this is : 'If we have no simple definition of health, how can we know if we are improving it?". Health promotion specialists respond to this by a) accepting people's multiple perceptions of health, often combined in a 'holistic' way, and b) seeking to enable local people to take greater control over their health, as the experts in their own lives, alongside the generalised expertises of the various health professionals. (initial entry by Aldo Mussi, University of Central England, Birmingham, Britain.)

Perceived health has epidemiologically shown to be a powerful predictor for future such as death.

Practicing health


There are many ways to practice health. It depends on what you want to be healthy about.



Germs are everywhere. Some are harmless, some are harmful, and some are even helpful. Here are 5 ways to protect yourself from germs. (The bad kind.)

  1. Wash Your Hands
  2. Bathe Often
  3. Cover Your Mouth When You Cough or Sneeze
  4. Develop an Awareness of Germs, not a Fear
  5. Avoid Very Sick People

Sexual health


Sexual activity presents a risk for transferring Sexually transmitted diseases (or 'STDs'), so care should be taken to prevent interaction with bodily fluids (e.g. semen, pre-ejaculate, and the vagina's natural lubricant), as well as skin-to-skin contact with any infected area.

  • Use barriers, such as condoms and dental dams. They are the most effective way to prevent STDs, by preventing interaction with bodily fluids and reducing skin-to-skin contact.
  • Oral and anal sex still require a barrier, despite them not posing a pregnancy risk, as STDs can develop in the mouth and anus as well as the vagina and penis.
  • Ensure that both partners are fully aroused and prepared before any penetration. Trying to penetrate the vagina or anus without proper preparation and lubrication (natural or otherwise) can cause damage that can include bleeding and infection. Communication with your partner is extremely important for this.
  • Dispose of semen and condoms properly.
  • Wash your hands and sheets after.

Be aware that there is no way to ensure 100% protection from infection or pregnancy during intercourse, but if used properly only 2 out of every 100 women using condoms will become pregnant in an entire year[1]. Their effectiveness for preventing STD transmission ranges from 70%-95% depending on what STD and what study you look at[2]. In order to maintain their effectiveness, don't store them in places with extreme temperatures or sharp objects, and be careful not to let latex barriers come into contact with oil-based lubricants or lotions, such as petroleum jelly[1].

Measuring health

  • General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28; Goldberg & Hillier, 1979)[3]

Health information

  • UserMeds - Resource for consumers, physicians, nurses, and educators. Includes news, user discussion.
  • NHS Choices UK site for impartial advice on personal health. Includes resources for sexual health.



These are user essays on health issues. Content is not necessarily reviewed for neutrality or accuracy. If unsigned, anyone may edit them.

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 [1], NHS Choices website, condoms.
  2. Condom#Effectiveness Wikipedia, effectiveness of condoms
  3. [2].Goldberg, D., & Hillier, V. F. (1979). Psychological Medicine, 9, 139-145.