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What is Worksite Wellness All About? A Series - What’s Health Status?

The practice and field of wellness at work today is based on three terms: well-being, health and wellness. Other terms that are as being used are flourishing well-being, flourishing, health improvement high quality of living, and the high quality of life. The three big ones are well-being, health and wellness.

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Because these terms are frequently used in conjunction or as synonyms I’ve wondered what do these words actually mean? When I thought of this question in my head I thought it would be easy to search for their definitions, and I’d find the answer.

However, I was completely wrong. Definitions have only gotten me so far, and not very far. When I was examining definitions, it struck me that the wellness programs for worksite employees nowadays aren’t solely about health rather, they are more concerned with employee health and wellbeing. The two terms are different. What is the difference? In light of the terms and research I’ve conducted, health status refers to a condition that is a constant date and time, in contrast to the more broad and encompassing notion of health.

What is Health Status?
Stedman’s 7th Edition Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing (2012) definition is: “The level of health of an individual or group or population , as measured by the individual or objective measurements.”
The Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine (2001) defines the term “health” as the “degree in which the physical and mental functions are in harmony with the biological, physical and social environments.”

In his 1997 piece entitled Health Status Assessment, Stephen Wright employs the term: “A focus on function and sensations of the body at a specific point within time.”

The Segen’s Medical Dictionary (2012), the definition reads: “A generic term referring to the health (good or poor) of a particular person or group of people within a specific area in particular, particularly when compared to other regions or national information.”

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A Medical Dictionary of Professions of Health Professions and Nursing (2012) definition is: “The level of health of an individual or a group of people, or a group as measured by the individual or objective measurements.”

Based on the U.S. National Library of Medicine Their definition as follows: “The level of health of an individual, group or population , as perceived by the individual or higher-quality measures.”
Its American Thoracic Society definitions are: “Health status is an individual’s degree of wellbeing and disease, taking into consideration the presence of any biological or physiological malfunction, symptoms, or functional impairment.

Perceptions about health (or perceptions of health) are subjective evaluations by the person affected of the health of their. Many people consider themselves healthy even though they suffer from some or all of the chronic illnesses and others see themselves as sick when no medical evidence can be identified.”

Rice University points out that “there is no one definition of health status for people or groups of people. Health status of an individual can be evaluated by an observer, who performs an exams and scores the individual on various dimensions, such as the the presence or non-existence of life-threatening illnesses and risk factors for premature death, the severity of disease as well as overall wellbeing. The individual’s health status can be measured by asking the individual to provide information about their perception of health in various areas of concern including physical function as well as emotional well-being. or discomfort, and the overall perception of health.”

The Biology Online Website, “the health status of an person, group, or population as perceived by an individual or other measures that are more objective.” is the definition they provide.

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In examining and contemplating definitions, it is crucial from a conceptual point of view to keep in mind that definitions are just a part of the picture. To ensure conceptual clarity one must also think about context and relevance as equally important factors to consider in addition.
The way in which health status is assessed is a crucial aspect in a workplace health and wellness environment.