Demystifying Health paper

The Valuing Nature Programme Demystifying Health paper has now been published.

VNP DHHealth is a basic element of life which is often taken for granted. We think little of it until it is threatened by injury or disease yet it is perhaps the most fundamental determinant of whether or not we can make the most of the opportunities available to us for a good life. Although we are healthier than we have ever been in history, good health is not equitably distributed. Protecting and promoting health is one of the most important roles of the state, healthy people are happier and more productive, able to take part in and contribute to their communities, but efforts to promote good health and deal with poor health is one of the biggest costs societies face. How we think about and define health and the factors which determine health has far reaching consequences for us all.

This brief demystifying paper introduces the concept of health, reviewing some common understandings of the idea and its usages, introducing key theories and schools of thought. The paper focuses on health in the UK, how it is protected, promoted and improved, and how we assess and measure health. The paper briefly considers how the concept of health relates to other similar linked ideas such as wellbeing and quality of life. It is written from a predominantly western, developed world view point and is targeted at the very wide variety of people and institutions whose activities and interests intersect with or may have some impact on health but who are not necessarily health professional.

The paper was edited by Becca, with over 80 collaborators from the Valuing Nature community. The Valuing Nature Programme is funded by:

Suggested citation: Lovell, R (ed), 20ı8. Demystifying Health, Valuing Nature Paper VNPı3.

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