Exploring 5 Definitions and models of health

Exploring 5 Definitions and models of health. Health is a multifaceted concept, encompassing various dimensions beyond the mere absence of illness. Understanding different definitions of health is crucial in adopting a holistic approach towards well-being. In this Exploring 5 Definitions and Models of Health article, we’ll delve into five distinct models of health, each offering unique perspectives on what it means to be healthy.

Definitions of Health:

The Traditional Definition: Absence of Disease

The conventional understanding of health primarily revolves around the absence of disease or injury. It underscores the importance of maintaining a robust physical state through practices such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and preventive healthcare measures. This definition places significant emphasis on proactive steps to ward off sickness and maintain optimal bodily function.

Expanding Definition: Well-being Spectrum

In contrast to the narrow focus on physical health, the well-being spectrum definition takes a more comprehensive approach. It acknowledges that health is not merely about the absence of illness but also about achieving a state of overall well-being encompassing the body, mind, and spirit. Beyond physical fitness, it emphasizes the importance of emotional stability, mental clarity, and a sense of purpose in life.

Social Connection: A Crucial Aspect of Health

Recognizing the profound impact of social relationships on health, this definition underscores the importance of social connection and support systems. Strong interpersonal bonds, a sense of belonging to a community, and the ability to give and receive support play pivotal roles in promoting emotional resilience and mental well-being. Studies have shown that individuals with robust social networks tend to experience better health outcomes and longevity.

Models of Health

Biomedical Model

The biomedical model of health, rooted in traditional medicine, primarily focuses on the physical aspects of health. It views the body as a machine, with illness as a deviation from normal biological functioning. This model emphasizes diagnosis, treatment, and cure of diseases, often through medical interventions such as medications and surgeries. While the biomedical model has contributed significantly to advancements in medical science, critics argue that it overlooks the importance of psychological and social factors in determining health outcomes.

Holistic Model

In contrast to the biomedical approach, the holistic model considers health as a balance between physical, mental, and social well-being. It recognizes the interconnectedness of various aspects of life and emphasizes the importance of lifestyle choices, emotional well-being, and social support systems in maintaining health. Proponents of this model advocate for preventive measures, such as healthy eating, regular exercise, stress management, and fostering supportive relationships, to promote overall wellness.

Social Model

The social model of health expands the scope beyond individual factors to include broader societal determinants of health. It acknowledges that biological factors and social, economic, and environmental conditions influence health outcomes. Addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, access to healthcare, education, and employment is central to the social model. By advocating for social justice and equitable distribution of resources, this model aims to reduce health disparities and improve population health outcomes.

Positive Health Model

The positive health model shifts the focus from illness to wellness, emphasizing strengths, resilience, and the capacity for individuals to thrive. It views health as more than just the absence of disease but as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. This model promotes proactive strategies for enhancing health, such as mindfulness practices, positive psychology interventions, and fostering a sense of purpose and meaning in life. By nurturing strengths and building resilience, individuals can better cope with life’s challenges and experience greater overall well-being.

Environmental Model

The environmental model of health recognizes the intricate relationship between human health and the environment. It underscores the impact of environmental factors such as air and water quality, housing conditions, access to green spaces, and exposure to toxins on health outcomes. Advocates of this model emphasize the importance of sustainable development, environmental conservation, and policies that promote a healthy environment. By addressing environmental determinants of health, we can mitigate risks, protect ecosystems, and create healthier communities for current and future generations.


In conclusion, exploring different definitions of health offers valuable insights into the complex nature of well-being. While the biomedical model focuses on treating diseases, holistic, social, positive, and environmental models advocate for a more comprehensive approach to health that considers physical, mental, social, and environmental factors. By adopting a holistic perspective and addressing the diverse determinants of health, we can promote optimal well-being and improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.


What is the biomedical model of health?

The biomedical model emphasizes the physical aspects of health and focuses on diagnosing and treating diseases using medical interventions.

How does the holistic model differ from the biomedical approach?

Unlike the biomedical model, which focuses solely on physical health, the holistic model considers the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and social well-being.

How does the positive health model promote wellness?

The positive health model emphasizes strengths, resilience, and proactive strategies for enhancing well-being, such as mindfulness practices and positive psychology interventions.

Why is the environmental model of health important?

The environmental model highlights the impact of environmental factors on health outcomes and advocates for sustainable practices and policies to create healthier environments.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice.

Name -Parika Parika holds a Master's in Nursing and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Nursing. In addition to her clinical experience, Parika has also served as a nursing instructor for the past 10 years, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for the nursing profession.

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