Wellness is more than just avoiding illness. It is a lifelong journey that affects how long you live and your quality of life. It changes over time depending on your lifestyle choices and life circumstances. To live your best life, you need to actively and intentionally pursue choices, behaviours and a lifestyle that work together to lead you toward whole-person health.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cardiovascular disease, cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, yet are largely preventable and caused by unhealthy lifestyles.2
Each year, NCDs are responsible for 41 million, or 71%, of all deaths worldwide.3
Healthcare systems and individuals alike are struggling economically and physically under the growing burden of rising NCDs.4
In 2017, the world spent US$7.8 trillion on health, representing about 10% of global GDP. This expenditure is rapidly growing, both in size and percentage of spending, and is doing so at a faster rate than the overall global economy.5
In the US alone, the total national health expenditure in 2017 was $3.5 trillion, which represented 17.9% of GDP and equated to US$10739 per US resident.6
In Australia, the total health expenditure in 2018-19 was $195.7 billion, which represented 10% of GDP and equated to $7,772 per person.7
The New Zealand government spent $19,871 billion in 2019-20 on health, which represented about 20% of government spending.8
Some key elements in pursuing wellness are:
Wellness is more than just physical health. It is a complex interaction between seven different dimensions. The 7 Dimensions of Wellness (7DW) are:
Reduce your risk of getting many preventable diseases by looking after your body.
Belonging to a reliable and supportive group can help you through difficult times, and lower your risk of disease and dying early. Build healthy friendships with people who are positive, uplifting and supportive of you.
Work out what you are passionate about, whether it is school, work or something else, and spend time and effort investing in that.
Develop a sense of belonging and purpose. Working out what is important to you and what/who you believe in will help bring you peace and direction.
Develop and keep your brain sharp by challenging it with new ideas, information and complex brain activities.
Spend time in nature enjoying fresh air, sunshine, plants and animals.
Listen to your feelings and share them with someone you trust. Learn to understand them and how they affect you.
1. Global Wellness Institute. What is wellness? [Available from: https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/what-is-wellness/.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About global NCDs: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2020 [updated May 26, 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/ncd/global-ncd-overview.html.
3. World Health Organization. Noncommunicable diseases. 2018. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases.
4. Haque M, Islam T, Rahman NAA, McKimm J, Abdullah A, Dhingra S. Strengthening primary health-care services to help prevent and control long-term (chronic) non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2020;13:409-26.
5. World Health Organization. Global spending on health: A world in transition. 2019. Report No.: WHO/HIS/HGF/HFWorkingPaper/19.4.
6. National Center for Health Statistics. Health expenditures: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2020 [updated November 10, 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-expenditures.htm.
7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Health expenditure Australia 2018-19. Canberra: AIHW; 2020. Report No.: HWE 80.
8. Ministry of Health. Budget 2019: Vote health: Ministry of Health; [updated November 18, 2020. Available from: https://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/what-we-do/budget-2019-vote-health.
Focus on living a healthy lifestyle across the seven dimensions to give yourself the best chance for a happy, healthy and fulfilling future.