Health is influenced by a number of factors which exist within the individual and the society. The important factors which determine health are: 1) heredity 2) environment 3) life-style 4) socio – economic conditions 5) health services 6) health related systems.
Genes determine the health of an individual from the moment of conception. The genetic makeup cannot be altered. Some diseases like diabetes and mental retardation have genetic origin. So the health of an individual depends on his genetic constitution.
Diseases are caused by changes in environment like air, water, climate etc. Environment is of two types: internal and external. Internal environment relates to each and every tissue, organ and system of the body and their harmonious functioning. External environment is the physical, biological and psychological components to which an individual is exposed. Environment has a direct influence on the physical, mental and social well being of an individual.
3. Life – style:
It means ‘the way people live’. It includes culture, behaviour and also habits like smoking and alcoholism. A number of diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes are related to life – style. Good life – style like good food, sleep and exercise promotes better health.
4. Socio – economic conditions:
They include income, education, nutrition, employment and housing.
Rich people have a capacity to seek better medical care. So they are healthy. But rich people are inactive and sedentary. So they are prone for heart diseases, diabetes and obesity.
Education especially female education has an influence on health. Education helps people to understand the importance of clean environment and maintaining good health.
Starvation has an adverse effect on health. Good nutrition is essential for normal growth and also for resistance against infection.
iv) Occupation: Employment provides income.
Employed people enjoy good health. Due to lack of income unemployed people do not have access to health care.
v) Health services:
The aim of health and family welfare services is to treat diseases, prevent illness and promotion of health. Health services like safe water supply and immunisation prevent a variety of diseases.
vi) Other health related systems:
They include agriculture, education, industry and rural development. They have an impact on health by raising the standards of living.