The World Health Day has been celebrated every year on the 7th of April since 1950. The date was decided by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the first World Health Assembly held in 1948. The WHO celebrates every World health day with a theme, the current theme being ‘Universal Health Scheme’.
As a Neurosurgeon, it is my endeavor to create awareness regarding health and healthy living. In our fast paced life in 21st Century, Health has definitely taken a back seat. We have forgotten to spend time with ourselves, for ourselves. While we are pre-occupied with struggles of life and invariably ignore our health, we live in a world where we are made to believe that health can be sold! There are numerous advertisements in Market regarding quick access with absolute success towards healthy living, say it weight loss or in achieving 6 pack abs. Before we try to achieve it, we need to understand what is Health? Is slim figure or a 6 pack abdomen a measure of healthy living? What is physiological (in other words – being normal)?
WHO defines health as ‘State of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ It is very important for us to understand the above definition in entirety. Though the world is obsessed with physical appearance of the body, we seldom include mental and social well being. In my earlier blog I had addressed Mental health, as a campaign for World Mental health day. In the current scenario, it is difficult to define social well being. Is being active on social media – a measure of social well being, or good interpersonal relationships in real and physical life (unlike virtual world of social media)?
Physical Well being
This decade has seen a lot of youngsters (irrespective of chronological age) hit the treadmill or the track and participate in marathon. It is a welcome change in our ever sedentary life style. The interest in Yoga and posture maintenance has been resurrected in the minds of people. Deep breathing exercises are a part of such physical activities, which are priceless addition to our healthy life. Apart from physical activities, our current generation are also becoming diet conscious, and know what, when and how-much to eat. This awareness has been initiated at a very early age from schools itself. Physical activity, breathing exercises and a balanced diet are three cardinal parameters contributing to physical health.
Mental well being
From bullying in school to mental tension at work! we hardly realize the impact of mental trauma that we undergo in every day life. In big cities, even travel and commute can be adventurous, contributing to significant mental tension. The incidence of ‘Depression’ has increased several folds in current era, and hasn’t spared any community, gender, age or socio-economic status. It has become an epidemic. A major reason being our patience and tolerance has decreased significantly over years. We just cannot accept defeat or ‘let it go’. Apart from this, there exists an ever increasing gap between our expectations and performance! Our wants and needs!
Social well being
The extent of the sense of belonging and social inclusion is measure of social well being. Humans are social beings and live in society. Our lifestyles, ways of living together, traditions and beliefs are all important to our social well being. The fundamental requirement for such healthy living is Communication. The current times has allowed us to communicate with people across the globe in a fraction of second. Apps such as skype and face time has made live video communication a reality! If we are to compare the present time with couple of decades ago – the era of telegram and age of postal letters, people used to wait for days to weeks/months to hear from their dear ones. Despite the technological advancement, today we live an era of social isolation, of-course hooked on to our smart gadgets during most of our available time. Through our smart phones and apps, we connect with strangers across the globe, but don’t spend time to know our neighbours! The harsh reality of 21st century.
To stay healthy, one has to give equal importance in keeping physical fitness, staying mentally happy and have a sense of social wellness connected well with our society. Let us celebrate ‘Wellness’ as World health day, rather than mere absence of disease or infirmity.