Positive health can be understood as the ability to cope with physical, biological, psychological, and social stress. This can become far too abstract. Yet measurements such as hemoglobin level, high density lipoprotein (HDL), immunity level, vital capacity and pain-bearing capacity can be possibly used to assess positive health. This aspect has remained unexplored and need attention of the researchers. Profile of persons who rarely fall sick and are able to do more work than others while leading enjoyable life can be studied to identify factors that contribute to positive health. It is possible though that psychological factors such as personality profile, absence of stress and carefree attitude contribute more to positive health than physiological parameters. Physically, low cholesterol, low sedimentation rate, low bleeding time, and higher hemoglobin level can be considered to indicate progressively better health. An index based on a combination of these or other physiological measurements has not been devised yet.
The term positive health has been used in different context for long but the concept of POSITIVE HEALTH as stated above was first forwarded by Indrayan in his book (p 164) Medical Biostatistics, first edition of which appeared in 2001. This book is now in second edition (1). Subsequently, a full book (2) appeared with this title but was primarily on people living with HIV. Some others concentrated on psychological well-being. Much later in 2008, an author (3) claimed that he is proposing a ‘new’ field with the name positive health that existed for long and replicated the above mentioned conceptual framework and elaborated further with grinding in psychology. The focus of Indrayan’s concept of positive health is physiological measures that build capacity to withstand stresses in all dimensions but mainly to stay healthy.
1. Indrayan A. Medical Biostatistics, Second Edition. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press, 2008. 2. Orr NM, Patient D. Positive Health. Empowerment Concepts, 2007. 3. Seligman MEP. Positive health. Applied Psychol: Int Rev 2008; 57:3–18