Components of Health
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
In addition to the contributions of our individual genetic predispositions to disease, health is the result of:
- Our behaviors;
- The environment and the community in which we live;
- The policies and practices of our health care, government and other prevention systems;
- The clinical care we receive.
These 4 aspects interact with each other in a complex web of cause and effect, and much of this interaction is just beginning to be fully understood. Understanding these interactions is vital if we are to create the healthy outcomes we desire, including a long, disease-free, robust life for all individuals regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. This report focuses on these determinants and on the overall health outcomes we desire.
The ultimate purpose of America’s Health Rankings® is to stimulate action by individuals, elected officials, medical professionals, public health professionals, employers, educators, and communities to improve the health of the population of the United States. We do this by promoting public conversation concerning health in our states, as well as providing information to facilitate citizen, community, and group participation. We encourage participation in all elements: behaviors, community and environment, clinical care, and policy. Each person individually, and in their capacity as an employee, employer, educator, voter, community volunteer, medical professional, public health official or elected official, can contribute to the advancement of the healthiness of their state. Proven, effective, and innovative actions can improve the health of people in every state whether the state is ranked first or 50th.