The field and practice of worksite wellness today basically revolves around three terms – health, wellness and wellbeing. Other terms also seen used include: thriving, flourishing, health promotion, optimal living and quality of life. But the big three are health, wellness and wellbeing.
Since these terms are used interchangeably or as synonyms, I have wondered just how different or the same are these terms? When I framed out this question in my mind, I thought it would be simple enough to just look-up their definitions and I would have my answer.
But, boy was I wrong. Definitions only got me so far and not very far at that. As I was reviewing definitions, it occurred to me that worksite wellness programs today are not even necessarily about health, but more about employee health status. These two terms differ. So how do they differ? Based on the definitions and reading I have done health status is a state at a fixed point in time, as opposed to the more global, encompassing concept of health.
What Is Health Status?
The Stedman’s 7th Edition Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing (2012) definition is: “The level of health of an individual person, group or population as assessed by that individual or by objective measures.”
The Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine (2001) defines the state of health as being the “degree to which physical and mental functioning are in equilibrium with the physical, biological and social environment.”
In his 1997 article titled Health Status Assessment, Stephen Wright uses the definition: “A focus on function and somatic sensation at a particular point in time.”
In the Segen’s Medical Dictionary (2012), the definition