1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Stone (1987), puts definitions of health into two categories: those that portray health as an ideal state and those that portray health as movement in a positive direction. The first definition implies that any disease or injury is a deviation from good health and that the ideal state can be restored by removing the disease or disability. Brannon & Feist (1992). The second definition, however, implies the multidimensional and continuous nature of health in a progressive direction. The second category of definitions simply speaks of health not just being an absence of disease but a conscious state of ...view middle of the document...
According to Gatchel, Baum & Krantz (1989), genetics have an effect on health and behavior. Darwin proposed the principle of natural selection. Behavioral genetics has proven genetics have an effect on health and behavior. Such factors are beyond our control. Our wellness or well-being health wise, however, is not just determined by such biological factors. Even within biological factors, apart from the action of genes, there are also the actions of neurotransmitters and other neurochemicals. These independent factors are strongly interdependent. The actions of genes go to affect the actions of various biological chemicals and both of these manifest physically in the individual. Both these factors are greatly influenced also most times by environmental factors. Environmental factors can either hinder or facilitate the physical manifestation of genetic and neurochemical information.
This study focuses exclusively on these environmental factors. Within the various environmental factors that ostensibly affect our health and well-being, there are two further divisions. There are the grand, widespread factors which we have little control over. For example, every person in the world right now is exposed to different levels and kinds of pollution as a result our activities as a race over the years. These factors could well be influenced by human activity but as an individual there is very little one can do to avoid the influence of these factors. This compared, perhaps, to the personal hygiene conditions that one lives in. This brings us to the next group of factors which we can exercise a great deal of control over.
In our current society, unfortunately, keeping personal hygiene may go a long way but may be woefully inadequate to keep one healthy. This is simply because the health problems of today have very little to do with parasitic and pathogenic infections that were very rampant some time ago. Worldwide, since the 19th century, the leading model of health and illness has been biomedical. (Brannon and Feist, 1992). The biomedical health model, deals with health problems by going through its core properties. This model is dualistic, mechanistic, reductionist and disease oriented. The model works on the principle that the body and mind are two separate entities. If a person was ill, it was because of a physical interference of the body’s normal mode of operation. A pathogen or germ intruded and as a result the individual was ill. The model targeted the pathogen and sought to destroy it to return the individual to their wellness state. The model had great advantages, the greatest, being the eradication of most infectious diseases and the development of medical technologies.
With the success of the biomedical model and the rising quality of human life came the evolution of illness and disease. Enter the bio psychosocial model which incorporates psychological and social factors with the physical aspects of health and illness. With this system,...