Health is a complex concept to explain or define because it consists of a variety of factors. Although concepts such as “physical health”, “mental health”, or “health care” are relatively simple, an overarching definition for health encompasses them all and more. In the population health model, health is defined as “the result of exposure to different patterns of … multiple determinants” (Russo 80). However, this definition is somewhat vague, although it underlines the complex cause and effect of determinants and outcomes.
To expand on this concept, I would suggest combining the determinants and outcomes on which the model focuses. Thus, I would describe health as the presence of any physical, mental, or social factors that hinder a person’s ability to live long and act on his or her desires. Furthermore, I would include secondary factors that can lead to the development of these hindrances — these include harmful habits such as smoking and environmental conditions such as air pollution or access to high-quality food.
The Second Question
Since this definition relies to a significant extent on the person in question’s self-perception, and considering that no universally accepted definition of health exists, assessing a person’s health can be challenging. However, if this assessment has to be limited to asking a sigle question in a survey, the question would be: “what is bothering you?” The variety of issues one can mention when answering it can help in detecting and identifying both immediate concerns on which the medical model focuses, and the less specific environmental determinants of the population health model. As such, the more closely related one’s answers are to his or her physical state, environment, and social structure, the likelier he or she is to have health issues. Furthermore, with more respondents, one can begin to notice patterns in their answers, allowing him or her to draw conclusions about the health of the overall population.
Russo, Pamela G. “Population health.” Jonas and Kovner’s Health Care Delivery in the United States, 11th ed, edited by James R. Knickman and Anthony R. Kovner. Springer, 2015, pp. 79-98.