Health, fitness, or fitness-relatedness (also including mental and physical health) is the standard quality of life, which includes both physical and mental health. The pursuit of health involves improving one’s self through diet and exercise, watching one’s weight, and avoiding risky environments or behaviors that can harm a person. In today’s culture, many people are concerned with their bodies, both healthologically and aesthetically, as well as the state of their relationships with others. Fitness involves everything from walking, running, swimming, and biking to taking vitamins and supplements, eating well on one’s own, and maintaining a healthy social life. In some ways, health and fitness are similar to religion, although people do not consider themselves “religious” when it comes to their health or fitness.
It is important for everyone to maintain a healthy weight, for example, as weight problems can lead to serious medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Public health and wellness professionals have recognized the need for a change in the way we live and treat our bodies and have developed many programs to promote good health. These include programs for healthy diet and exercise and educational initiatives designed to promote better nutritional and physical education. Programs geared toward promoting good health may also provide funding for community organizations that focus on issues related to health and nutrition and physical activity. For instance, the American Cancer Society has been active in promoting support for cancer research and treatment, including the promotion of active lifestyles, diet and physical activity, smoking cessation, exercise, and home and hospital treatment for cancer patients.
The goal of public health and wellness is to improve the lives and health of all Americans, by preventing and reducing the burden of suffering caused by major illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. However, research indicates that most people living in the United States are suffering from unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as excessive smoking, inadequate intake of physical activities, poor diet, stress, and sedentary work or living conditions. It has also been suggested that these same factors may contribute to health disparities in other areas as well, such as depression, poor academic performance, higher rates of alcohol use and abuse, and poor nutritional status. In other words, there is a strong connection between unhealthy lifestyle choices and the greater risks of serious illness and diseases like heart disease and diabetes.