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Health, Definitions of

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Epidemiology is often defined as the study of the occurrence and determinants of disease in human populations. Another way to look at epidemiology is to define it as the study of the health of human populations, which requires a definition of what is meant by health. The definition of what constitutes health is partly dependent on culture and historical period, so this entry concentrates on two general ways of conceptualizing health that are in common use today in the industrialized world: the medical model and the holistic model.

The medical model defines health as the absence of disease or injury, so a healthy person is one who is not suffering from a disease or injury as defined by current medical practice. This model was common in ...

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