Health based on behaviours instead of biological

Health and wellbeing includes a person’s physical, mental and social well being. From the 1990s the government noticed that local communities within the UK need better health and social care provisions which has resulted in policies to improve services that provide health and wellbeing to communities.

Labonte has a holistic view of health which includes the whole person. Labonte’s model of health and well being shows that physical wellbeing includes vitality and energy, mental wellbeing includes meaning and purpose and social wellbeing includes community and connectedness. But mental and physical wellbeing should have the ability to do things one enjoys, physical and social wellbeing should have enjoyment of good social relationships and social and mental wellbeing should include feeling control over life and living conditions. All of these factors that link a person’s wellbeing and if these factors are all included the individual should have good physical, mental and social wellbeing. His definition includes health and wellbeing which transfers the focus from a biomedical perspective to an overall view. Labonte argues that to experience health and wellbeing, three things need to be in place: physical activity, including vitality and energy; mental health, having meaning and purpose in life; and a social context of connection to family and others in the community.

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People need energy and connection to others to enjoy good social relationships, connection to community and a sense of purpose to be able to live enjoyable lives (Hashagen, 2003, p.287, cited in The Open University). Official statistics of health within the UK show some groups have better health than others and these are thought to be based on behaviours instead of biological factors (Scottish Government, 2008; Figure 6.2, cited in The Open University). But these behaviours are thought to be based mostly on their difference in income, employment, housing and education within these areas (Pevalin and Rose, 2003; Macintyre, 2007, cited in The Open University).

One government report states: inequalities in health arise because of inequalities in society – in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age (Marmot, 2010. P.16, cited in The Open University). For people to maintain good health they need to have access to good quality resources such as health services for good physical and mental wellbeing, a place for advice and support to have good physical, mental and social wellbeing. Their wider environment should have good quality housing, a safe clean environment which will help provide good physical, mental and social wellbeing.


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