In descending order, by date published.
Health organizations and providers recognize that health is more than the absence of illness or disease. Yet, there is no universal definition for health. One holistic way of thinking about health includes eight dimensions of wellness.
What influences health? People often think about the environment or lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity, and sleep. What people may think about less is the effect family, friends, and social networks have on health. Relationships affect physical, mental, and social well-being. In fact, people with strong social connections live longer, healthier lives than those who have few or poor-quality relationships.
Historically, when talking about health, the focus has been on a single chronic disease, lifestyle factor such as nutrition or physical activity, and/or one's personal responsibility for health. However, many other factors influence health. Research shows that individual choices determine a person's health but so do the individual's surroundings.
Communities are powerful influencers of health. Community can describe people living in a specific place - like a neighborhood, zip code, county, or state. It can also describe a group of people who have shared attitudes, interests, or goals. Examples include connections through schools and religious institutions and social identities like gender, race, or political affiliation. These places and groups shape the ways in which people think and communicate about health.