In 1948, the World Health Organization defined good health as; "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
This definition of health holds as true today as it did back in 1948. Though the WHO may have modified their definition since then, the state of health for many today is dismal. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease are increasing rapidly throughout the world and no one appears to have a clue as to how to cure disease other than treat it through drugs and surgery.
Ask anyone on the street and you are likely to get the answer that health for them means the absence of pain and illness. Many say they are healthy even though they take a pharmacy of drugs and medications to feel that way.
As the years have slipped by more people have adopted the Western style diet, a diet of highly refined foods loaded with sodium, sugar, fat and chemical additives. Highly stressed lifestyles combined with bad habits such as smoking and the pollutants in the food, air and water insure that the quality of life is severely compromised. There's little good in living longer if those extra years are filled with pain an disease.
Today's diseases are the result of poor lifestyle choices. Aside from the fact that most diets are high in fat, most of the produce on supermarket shelves is severely depleted of the essential vitamins and minerals that were abundant in the diet of those who lived a hundred years ago. Today's food is mass produced and comes from farms whose soils have been sterilized and robbed of minerals. Food is made to look good and have a long shelf life, but not produced to promote health.
Today's medical establishment projects the idea that sickness is a part of life and inevitable. The older you get, the sicker you will be and the more you'll require medical intervention. But the truth is that a healthy body does not get sick. A body with a strong immune system has many checks and balances that insure that good health is maintained. Even today you'll find centenarians that do not require crutches to get around or languish in a nursery home waiting for the bliss of death to take them. Health is not all due to hereditary factors.
Those centenarians have no special health genes to help them live so long. What they do have is what's lacking in the lives of the majority of people today. Those healthy old folks are active. They eat fresh fruits and vegetables, foods high in fiber and low in simple carbohydrates. They get fresh air and do not smoke or drink to excess. You'll likely find them living in their own homes and getting about without walkers and canes.
Maintaining good health has to start with the belief that it is possible to become healthy and stay that way by implementing good lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, few people have the incentive to make those changes. A stressed and hurried lifestyle does not allow many to stop and take an inventory of themselves and the goals for future well-being.
With all that we've discovered about the functioning of the body and its ability to heal itself, there is no excuse why anyone should continue to live an an unhealthy lifestyle that shortens the quality of life. The real definition of good health is by making a complete change of lifestyle through eating a good diet, exercising regularly, living relatively stress free, getting enough sleep and throwing out the cigarettes and drugs. Doing so would reduce the epidemics of today's modern diseases and restore the balance and enjoyment that life should be.