Concept Of “Health” Has Changed Overtime

Discuss How The Concept Of “Health” Has Changed Overtime.

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Discuss how the concept of “health” has changed overtime. Discuss how the concept has evolved to include wellness, illness, and overall well-being. How has health promotion changed over time? Why is it important that nurses implement health promotion interventions based on evidence-based practice?

Researchers, policymakers, and healthcare professionals of all political stripes agree that we are in the midst of a “multifactorial and growing crisis of health care systems” []. The United States (US) allocates enormous resources to healthcare in return for poor patient outcomes, and the high cost of care has led to severe health disparities between demographic groups []. The resulting crisis has been met with a push towards a value-based healthcare system, with payment tied to outcomes, that is aimed at reducing societal costs while improving the quality of care to individual patients []. As policymakers strive to transform healthcare into a value-based system, there is a parallel process that must occur, where society needs to define very clearly and unambiguously what constitutes health.


Since the earliest days of mankind, cultures around the world have sought the elusive understanding of what it means to be healthy. This definition has evolved many times, often reflecting the specific beliefs and the levels of scientific and medical understanding of that particular era. Understanding these changes provides a context for the new definition that is needed in the present age.

Ancient medicine

In ancient times, health fell largely under the influence of religion and was equivalent to gaining favor with deities. Religious healers believed that in order to achieve health, it was necessary for individuals to pray and sacrifice to the gods in order to propitiate them []. In several medical papyri of ancient Egypt, headaches were attributed to the actions of demons and supernatural forces that had to be appeased in order to be cured []. In the 11th to 12th century BCE, in ancient Greece, those seeking healing would make pilgrimages to the temples of offended deities in order to appease their wrath. Some would go directly to the temple of the healing god Asclepius, where prayers and sacrifices were performed in exchange for dream cures that came while patients slept []. The rod of Asclepius, an international symbol of medicine, is a reminder of humanity’s ancient belief that health was endowed by deities of medicine and healing [] (Figure (Figure11).

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