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Im a 1st year med student and we talked about this extensively in the first semester.
Basically, it came down to 2 definitions. The first definition was complete objective health, with nothing wrong with you. As you can imagine, in many cases this is just impossible, more so when you think that many terminal diseases (aids, cancer, etc) have now become chronic, meaning that more and more of the general population is actually "sick". But although these diseases may not be curable, they are definitely curable, such as in the case of aids, where people can now live an almost normal life with a close to normal life expectancy. On top of this, the smallest cramp or pain would make you "unhealthy", which to me just sounds silly.
Now from this, it becomes evident that although one might be sick, their treatment and handling of their disease means that they may live a "normal" life. It can be argued that in this case, that although the person is sick, they are healthy, as it does not affect their life (to a great extent) and they can go on about their daily routine without being particularly "burdened" by their disease. This of course is a matter of opinion, but I think its fairly solid as an idea.
Of course, this approach looks at it from the individuals viewpoint and not societies and is mostly focused of physical rather than mental illness. I think that in mental illness, the stigma and ignorance that exists around it make it harder for a person with a mental illness to live their normal life, because many people simply dont understand it. To put it into an example, I think it would be easier for the average person to understand why it would be hard for someone in a wheelchair to go shopping due to the physical obstacles, but harder to understand why someone with a form of anxiety just cant handle the fear of talking to someone at the counter.
Relating to your comment about cultural relativism, I think that it influences the concept of health greatly. To demonstrate this ill give an example form personal experience. Ive got roots from the UK and Greece. Now, in the UK, your expected to go to university and be done with it as soon as possible, if you mess around a…
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