Redefining Health in the 21st Century


Listen to “Redefining Health in the 21st Century”.

A little more than a decade ago, the respected periodical The Lancet published a new definition, posited by some researchers, that Health is the “ability of a body to adapt to new threats and infirmities.” Now, due to the pandemic, this definition has become more relevant than ever before. 

These days, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what we mean by Health. We don’t know what Health looks like anymore. Medicine is developing at such high speeds with the advent of organ transplants, life-saving operations, testings, screenings, vaccines etc., that it’s becoming increasingly hard to hold onto a single definition. 

To make things even more complicated, despite all of the progress made in medicine, more and more people are still being diagnosed with cancer each day; a third of the population is overweight or obese, including children; and depression and anxiety are rising at alarming rates. 

Another issue is that, despite all of our technological breakthroughs, we still find it difficult to detect and treat potential health issues early on before they become critical. 

The majority of the world’s population now live in countries where excess weight and obesity kill more people than malnutrition.

Do You Need Medicine or Lifestyle Change?

There is solid evidence to indicate a direct association between BMI and mortality. Obesity also increases the risk of serious health problems relating to COVID-19. In fact, overweight adults are three times more likely to be hospitalized due to a COVID-19 infection than people who are a healthy weight.

Why do we only worry about our health when we feel sick and then take medication to treat symptoms? 

Most illnesses and premature deaths are caused by the bad habits people choose for themselves. Individual behaviour is largely responsible for the health problems we face as a society. 

According to a new research review published in The Lancet, if people cleaned up their eating habits, they could prevent one in five deaths globally. 

Poor diets, too high in sugar, trans fats and processed meats, and too low in whole grains, organic produce and nuts, were associated with increased death and disease worldwide. 

The findings also showed that while people now live longer, more years of their lives are spent sick, meaning an ever-increasing demand for treatment, rising costs and the urgent need for extra hospital beds.

Instead of debating who should pay for all this, no one is asking the far more pressing and straightforward question: What is making us so sick, and how can we reverse our situation so that we can reduce our reliance on health care? 

The answer is in our lifestyles and our relationship to the planet we live on.

Our Health is tied to air, water and food from the earth, and we should keep them clean and stop dumping toxic wastes into them.

The Connection Between Human and Planetary Health

Our Health is also improved by exercise, which should be a big part of our lives. Connecting with nature is beneficial for both our physical and mental health. Caring for ourselves and the biosphere would reward humanity many times over with improved health and happiness. 

Many of us don’t stop to consider our level of health and wellness until we think something is wrong or something goes wrong.

We have to reframe our understanding of Health and wellness. We have to become more self-aware of our bodies and minds. In doing so, we can learn about different ways of addressing our health and wellness concerns and shift how we think about them. 

Today, we can begin by educating ourselves about the appropriate actions to impact our health positively.

Many people complain that organic foods are expensive. But illness and treatments in hospitals are much more costly. So, wouldn’t it be better to spend the money and time on changing our nutrition to clean eating, exercising, and taking care of mental Health, instead? 

By taking better care of your health, you can begin to take full responsibility for your life. It is the best investment you can make toward living a long, healthy, and productive life.