STAT

Opinion: It’s time to change the definition of ‘health’

Rather than pursuing the "absence" of disease, we need a more inclusive definition of health — one that works for more people.

Meet Betty, a typical aging American. At 82, she spends almost as much time with her doctors as she does with her grandchildren. She has to. She takes seven prescription medications to treat her high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and arthritis. Ten years ago, she was treated for breast cancer.

Is Betty healthy? According to her, “Absolutely!” She enjoys her spacious apartment, two cats, close friends, and 50-gallon fish tank.

But according to the World Health Organization, Betty is mistaken. as a state of “complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The

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