Health is a measure of quality of life that is difficult to define and measure. In the 1940s, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a "state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." At the first International Conference on Health Promotion in Ottawa, Canada (1986), the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion built on the WHO's concept and further defined health as "a resource for everyday life ... a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capabilities." Good health enables one to function independently within a changing environment.

SEE ALSO Health Communication ; Health Education ; Health Promotion ; Healthy People 2000 Report .

Delores C. S. James


World Health Organization (1948). Official Records of the World Health Organization, No 2: Proceedings and Final Acts of the International Health Conference Held in New York from 19 June to 22 July 1946. New York: United Nations, WHO Interim Commission.

Internet Resource

World Health Organization (1986). Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Available from <>

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