The Definition of Health: Towards New Perspectives

Fabio Leonardi
  • International Journal of Health Services, June 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0020731418782653

The crisis of the WHO definition of health: towards new perspectives of health

What is it about?

The current definition of health, formulated by the WHO, is no longer adequate for dealing with the new challenges in health care systems, at least for 6 reasons. The time has come to abandon the WHO’s utopian vision: we can no longer consider health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. This definition should be seen as an inspirational goal rather than a real definition of health. A new definition of health should have at least 9 features to work well within the clinical scientif- ic field. Moving from these 9 recommendations, a new definition of health has been developed.

Why is it important?

The 6 problematic aspects regarding the WHO definition of health have been deeply analysed. At the beginning of the third millenium, a definition of health should have specific features, which have been discussed. A new definition of health has been proposed in order to deal with the new challenges of Medicine.


Fabio Leonardi (Author)
T.I.B. - Clinical and Research Centre

A new definition of health is need, but the wide scientific debate regarding definition of health seems to have come to a standstill: on one hand, the WHO does not change its own definition; and on the other, no alternative perspective seems able to reach a wide level of consensus. This work gives some theoretical coordinates to overcome from this standstill.

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The following have contributed to this page: Fabio Leonardi