The relative and dynamic nature of health should be addressed separately and has been touched upon already on previous pages.

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The relative nature of health refers to the use of others to compare the health status of a particular person. The term relative means:

Considered in relation or in proportion to something else.

Therefore the relative nature of health is when a person decides that an elite sports person is healthier than their friend who is into tennis. Or when you look at your friends and decide that these three (3) are healthier than you, but that you are healthier than the rest. However, this is hard to say objectively due to the dimensions of health coming into play. Many people use physical appearance to determine the relative health of another without thinking about the social, spiritual, mental or emotional aspects of health.

The dynamic nature of health refers to the fact that the health status of anyone is continually changing and can change dramatically with little notice. A person may well have been healthy yesterday, but today there was a dramatic event that has caused ill to their health. This could be an injury, sickness, bullying, divorce, questioning of faith, or being kicked off a sports team.

Health, however, more frequently changes slowly. Think of the older person who frequently talks about how they used to go to the gym, played at an elite level, used to eat their vegetables or used to be thin and active. Maybe they used to have a vibrant social life, have lost their parents, or have simply let themselves go (see video below). Some people develop lifestyle diseases, most of which slowly develop.

Others may change for the better and start to eat a healthy diet, take up a new sport, subscribe to a particular religion or have made a new friend. All of these can have a positive impact on health.

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Health can also change because of a change in circumstance. Think of the person who starts at a new school after moving states because their parents divorced. They need to redevelop their social life, may become depressed and anxious. They need to find new ways to be physically active etc. Other people may not have money to chose to eat better food, or may live in an area with little or no access to gyms, or sporting fields. They may have long distances to travel to meet up with friends or have someone show them that their belief system is flawed.

What does health mean to individuals?Meanings of healthPerceptions of healthHealth behaviours of young peopleWhat influences the health of individuals?The determinants of healthThe degree of control individuals can exert over their healthHealth as a social constructWhat strategies help to promote the health of individuals?Responsibility for health promotionHealth promotion approaches and strategiesThe Ottawa Charter as an effective health promotion frameworkPrinciples of social justiceClick Below to Check out Dan’s Resources