What’s Your Definition of Health?

I couldn’t help but snicker when I recently saw this sign at a popular supermarket here in St Louis.

Whomever was in charge of designing the layout of the store must be under the impression that “healthy living” items belong in the pharmacy section.

According to Apple’s Dictionary, health is defined as “the state of being free from illness or injury.” If we rely on this definition, Healthy Living products don’t really belong anywhere near the pharmacy section. If someone needs to have a prescription filled, aren’t they by definition in a state of illness or injury?

Thousands of St Louis residents shop at this store, which means they’re routinely exposed to the contradictory message that pharmacies are a requisite for living healthy. In all likelihood, however, I’m one of the few people who stopped to consider the irony of this sign when I saw it…

The healthiest people I know A) aren’t hanging out in pharmacies, and B) aren’t using most of these “healthy living” products.

Now I’m sure that many shoppers look directly at this sign and don’t even realize it’s there… So why bother blogging about it? Because it sends a misleading message, albeit subtle, that health comes in a bottle or can be bought off a shelf.

I would encourage you to adopt the World Health Organization’s definition of health, which interestingly enough has remained unchanged since 1948:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Notice it doesn’t mention anything about pharmacies, band-aids, or smelly ointments.

So Apple and WHO have established theirs… Do you have another definition?