NRS 429 Discuss how the concept of “health” has changed overtime

NRS 429 Discuss how the concept of “health” has changed overtime

NRS 429 Discuss how the concept of “health” has changed overtime

The concept of health has changed greatly over the course of past few years, and it is important that we as nurses keep up to date with the latest evidence based practices to stay current in our practice. In the early days the incredibly fast spread of disease was attributed to lack of sanitation and cleanliness, and contaminated water, in those days the concept of “health” was essentially defined as anyone who was disease free and did not have any ailments. As we fast forward to current times the definition of health had widely evolved to become a individuals identity and how they hold their place in society, as a functional member of society, which includes factors like physical mental and spiritual wellness. It is important that nurses use evidence based practice because those methods incorporate proven scientific methods and studies to show the effectiveness of health promotion.

Grand Canyon University (Ed). (2018). Health promotion: Health & wellness across the continuum. Retrieved from

The concept of health has evolved from some specific beliefs whereby prayer and sacrifices were made to gods and deities to achieve health, and diseases were attributed to the actions of demons and supernatural forces. Hippocrates brought about the first major break in health by separating “religious beliefs and establish the relationship between environmental/personal cleanliness and the origin of disease…. and that health is a product of environmental and behavioral factors” (Badesh,, 2017). Hippocrates believed that disease resulted from imbalances between four body fluids. Galen, a physician in the first century BCE expanded the Hippocratic definition by considering the patient as a whole, including mental and emotional state. Through several scientific discoveries, healthcare delivery methods kept changing till the formation of World Health Organization (WHO). WHO described “health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, n.d.). The concept of health keeps evolving and is being updated based on medical science scholars and research. There have been other definitions of health by many different scholars. J Bircher, an expert in economics argues that health and disease definition should be changed to “a dynamic state of well-being, characterized by an individual’s physical, mental and societal potential to meet the demands of life unique to the individual’s age, culture and personal responsibility” (Bades, et.el., 2017). With the invention and administration of vaccines, prevention of illness took the center stage, and the (WHO) focus was on health promotion, and the definition of health became viewed as “accumulation of factors such as physical, mental, and spiritual wellness” (Falkner, 2018). The emphasis now is on health and wellness promotion, and prevention of disease.

 Health promotion is defined as “the process of enabling people to exert control over the determinants of health and thereby improve their health” (Nutbeam, 1998). The focus is on engaging in activities that promote health, and by nurses educating individuals, families, communities, and organizations on implementation of health promotion interventions based on evidence -based practice. It is important that nurses only implement health promotion interventions based on evidence-based practice so that outcome can be replicated.


Badash, I., (2017). Redefining Health: The Evolution of Health Ideas from Antiquity to the Era of Value-Based Care. Cureus9(2), e1018.

Faulkner, A. (2018). Health Promotion in Nursing Care. In Health promotion: Health & wellness continuum. Chapter 2). Grand Canyon University.

Nutbeam, D. (1998) Evaluating Health Promotion—Progress, Problems and solutions, Health Promotion International, Volume 13, Issue 1, 1998, Pages 27–44,

(WHO, n.d.)

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The concept of health has changed considerably over time. According to a general timeline by Falkner (2018), health was the absence of disease through the early part of the 19th century and considered the ability to remain a functional part of society in the early 20th century. Improvements in sanitation made diseases more manageable, and vaccinations eradicated many other common illnesses through these periods (Falkner, 2018). Today’s health care professionals are taking a proactive approach by educating their clients and encouraging disease prevention, not just treatment after disease or illness presents itself. Today’s definition of health is also more than being disease-free. It encompasses wellness, promoting healthy living, and disease prevention. Health today involves the whole client or the holistic approach, made up of physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.

As with the definition of health, health promotion has evolved to encompass a broader definition. The World Health Organization [WHO] (n.d.) defines health promotion as the process of allowing people to increase control over and thus improve their health. This definition is lived by nurses. Nurses not only educate clients about treatment options and the disease process, but they teach about healthy lifestyles, reducing risky behaviors, developmental needs, screenings, and preventive care. This combination of things gives clients increased control over and improves their health.

Research also leads to improvements in health care with the development of evidence-based practice (EBP). Using EBP, the nurse is equipped with the most current information as well as resources regarding healthy lifestyle and healthy choices. Nurses are then able to educate their clients using EBP to reinforce their teaching. The more current the information, the better informed the client. One of the most important reasons nurses should include evidence-based practice interventions while promoting the client’s health is that the well-informed client is better equipped to make quality health decisions throughout their lives.

Falkner, A. (2018). Health promotion in nursing. In Grand Canyon University (Ed.), Health promotion: Health & wellness across the continuum. Grand Canyon University.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). Health promotion

As the healthcare is evolving, the concept of health also changed. The WHO defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity. One is said to be healthy if he is free from sickness and diseases. Between the 1750 and 2000, health care in the USA evolved from a simple system of health remedies and itinerant disease with little training to a complex, scientific technological and bureaucratic system often called the medical industrial complex. This complex is built on medical science and technology. Previously, the concept of health focuses on disease diagnosis and treatments but recently, the focus has shifted to include health promotion and disease prevention, health maintenance , wellness and the use of evidence based practice. The concept of health promotion uses some nursing model such as the Penders model of health promotion to predict the health behavior of people . This behaviors contribute to health and illness and through health education, some of this behavior which result to illness are being eliminated. During the past 10yrs, the healthcare industry has dramatically evolved for both the medical communities and the patients. some of the significant evolution include the area of telemedicne, death rate. health promotion and disease prevention, wellness and well-being.

wellness has several dimensions including physical and emotional well being. According to the Oxford dictionary, wellness is the state of being healthy especially when the you actively try to achieve it. Aspect of well being includes physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual , The factors that affect wellness are lifestyle, spiritual well being, mental well being and environmental factors

Another area that the health care has evolved is the use of evidence based practice. previously,almost every patient on admission will be catheterized regardless of the reason for their admission. but with evidence based practice, it has being found that urethral catheterization increases the chances of urinary tract infection and hospital acquired infection hence catherization is now for specific reasons such as major surgical procedures, urinary retensions etc


Falkner, A. (2018) Health promotion in nursing care. In Grand Canyon University (Eds.), Health promotion: Health and wellness across the continuum.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). Health promotion. World Health Organization. Retrieved October 11, 2022, from,of%20social%20and%20environmental%20intervention

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 2006). Inadequate sanitation makes it easier for diseases to spread. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sanitary conditions were better known, and measures were taken to adequately control them, making diseases easier to manage. In the twentieth century, vaccines were developed, shifting the focus of health care from treatment to prevention. The term “health” came to encompass a variety of aspects, including physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, as the field of health promotion developed (Falkner, 2018). Today’s objectives are to establish a community of wellness in which disease prevention and health promotion take precedence over seeking medical attention once an illness has developed. We now recognize that disease prevention and fitness go hand in hand. Although we may not always have control over our health, we are able to make choices that will help us feel better.


Constitution of the World Health Organization (