Well here we are at Part 5 of this series on the dimensions of health. We ended Part 4 with a promise to explore the very determinants of physical health. So that is what we shall do.

Recall that last time we noted that physical health related quite simply to the body and that a state of health was akin to being normal. We further noted that normal could be understood in both statistical and functional terms. It is worth knowing that normal doesn’t mean perfect.

I want to remind everyone following this series that we are deliberately taking a western, and therefore somewhat unavoidably, reductionist approach at this stage. This means that over time we will establish a catalog of related and explored concepts and have a view of health that details several dimensions largely in isolation from one another. Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to stitch the dimensions into one whole again later. 

Well lets dive right in. The determinants of physical health are fairly well known I think. They are:

  • fresh air
  • pure water
  • measured direct sunlight
  • nutritious foods offering all required nutrients
  • shelter
  • safety from physical harm
  • regular strenuous exercise
  • adequate rest
  • regular quality sleep
  • concurrent health in the other dimensions

I could write volumes on each of these 10 basic determinants of health, but not in this current series! What I will say is that anything that detracts from any one or more of these foundations supporting physical health really does undermine wellbeing.

You cannot achieve and sustain robust good health if you fail to maintain these 10 determinants. Each and every departure from them will weaken your health position. We don’t want that.

Take fresh air for example. Many large city dwellers breathe a constant virtual soup of polluted air. Is that undermining their health? You bet it is. Mind you, some country folk become regularly exposed to high levels of dust and sometimes smoke from fires, agricultural chemical vapours and other pollutants, so they are not always much better off. The clean country air is not always so clean.

What about your water supply? Are you satisfied that it is pure water you’re drinking? Maybe it is so treated that it tastes like a chemical concoction; maybe it is not treated enough and remains contaminated with various things, natural and human-made. Perhaps you replace too much of your required pure water intake with coffee or tea or soda. Remember that every departure from pure water places an extra burden on your body and may undermine your physical health.

I’m going to leave this here for now and let you think through the remaining eight items on our list. See if you can come up with some ideas about how they relate to your health and wellbeing. Try asking yourself if you can detect any gap between what you believe is required in each area and what you are currently experiencing.

In Part 6 I will briefly consider the remaining eight areas so you will have something to compare your own notes with. I will also introduce the sometimes misunderstood notion of physical fitness, since people regularly confuse fitness and health. Don’t forget to do your homework and we can move forward with Part 6 soon.

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7 Comments to “Dimensions of Health Part 5”

  1. David says:

    That is just great Peter, now you’re giving us homework! Ha!

    No seriously, that is a great idea, it might get us all past entertainment and into some thinking. Actually, I think you always seem to manage that.

    It’s a worrying list in some ways I think. When you come right down to it, it’s clear that health can be easily put at jeopardy in our modern world. Your list is certainly right and it goes to show just how many areas we have to watch in order to stay well.

    I know you don’t like to mention health and illness in the same sentence if it can be avoided but I have to say it provides good insight into why we see so much disease. It is simply so easy to slip up a bit here and a bit there and the next thing you know the foundations of health have been eroded. I suppose that’s where the sayings referring to health “collapsing” come from. I never really though about it this way before but your analogy is a good one.

    Keep up your thought provoking efforts Peter. I’m off to do my homework!


    • Health Gazette says:

      Hi David, I thought you were still overseas. It’s good to have you back. Thanks for the contribution, it’s been pretty quiet here.

      Actually I know what you mean about the list but I see it in practice in the entirely opposite light. Rather than seeing a long list (no, let’s be more accurate, there’s only 10 items on my list) of areas where something could go wrong, I see it as a very useful guide listing several areas in which improvements can easily be made.

      I think that when someone thinks through those 10 items they can be encouraged to see that not one single item is really all that hard to improve or unachievable. Certainly, as a minimum, with just some effort an improvement can be made in any or all of the 10 areas.

      As you know david, just a little improvement in a few areas can add up to big improvements in health and wellbeing. All the best with your homework 😉
      Dr Peter Tylee

  2. Bart Jarvis says:

    Excellent stuff Peter, I find that if you have a solid yet simple base from which to work off you can build much more efficiently and effectively, and if things go wrong it can be much easier to find the problem by simply breaking down and back tracking over each section. This being constant across everything in life. I guess by having a map it makes it a lot easier to get from point A to piont B (as long as point A and B are on the map!). But I guess this could just be the Technician coming out in me!

    I’m not sure whether this is the preferred method for working with this list in Alternative Health?

    These points you have listed seem to be a great base to work from and in doing some homework I see that they can all be expanded on greatly, which keeps me thinking.

    I am especially looking forward to your next installment where you will introduce physical fitness, for I am preparing to hit the gym once again to see if I cannot put on a kilo or two! So any pointers I pick up will be put to good use.

    I came across the high speed sport recovery supplement whilst searching the Herbal Care Direct website and I will try them out for post workout recovery coupled with some albumen powder for good coverage.

    Your gazette is just full of great information, keep up the excellent work with this. I am learning more and more every post.

    Bart Jarvis

    • Health Gazette says:

      Greetings Bart! It’s really wonderful to have you aboard, welcome.

      Hey, I like your idea of a map, it works for me. My strongest message that I keep thumping on the Tom Toms here is to take action on what you learn about health. If you can envision your learning as a map and then actually plan or “map out” action steps to go forward with health, that has to be be good.

      These 10 items are a great base. I think of them as a foundation for physical health. They are all areas in which practical progress can be made by anyone wanting to improve their health and wellbeing. Of course, number 10 is huge!

      I hope to get to the next installment in a day or two. I’ve been tied up readying a new site for launch in a few hours time. You’ll see the announcement in The Health Gazette.

      Dr Peter Tylee

  3. Bart Jarvis says:

    Ah yes I figured as much that point 10 be huge. I will be anxiously[;-)] awaiting the expansion of number 10. I would have a guess that there are many sub points under it!

    I’d better get to learning the CORRECT hows of improving my “not so strong points” derived from this foundation.

    Leave you to it, looking forward to the new launch.


    • Health Gazette says:

      [quote]I would have a guess that there are many sub points under it![/quote]

      Ha! Yep, whole sub areas with points. It could be a looong series 😉

      Dr Peter Tylee

  4. Health Gazette says:

    Lisa Iversen and colleagues from the University of Aberdeen in the UK analyzed responses to a mailed health questionnaire returned by more than 1,000 adults living in rural areas of Scotland and nearly 1,500 living in urban areas of Scotland.

    It appears that living in the country may be good for your respiratory health since rural as opposed to urban dwelling is associated with a lower prevalence of asthma. In fact, the investigators discovered that the prevalence of “any” lung illness was 28-percent lower among those living in the country compared with those living in cities.

    It’s something to think about.

    Dr Peter Tylee

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