What is a
"Healthy Lifestyle"?

Our slogan, “Empowering healthy lifestyle choices” summarizes what we aim to do here. But what does it mean? What is a “healthy lifestyle”?

Most of us want to be healthy, but in this Information Age also known as New Media Age, there are as many definitions of, and approaches to health as there are social media armchair experts in this field. A good place to start defining “healthy lifestyle” is with the dictionary. The Oxford Dictionary defines “healthy” as:

  1. in a good physical or mental condition; in good health.
    Similar words: well, alright, flourishing, blooming, thriving,
  2. (of a part of the body) not diseased
  3. indicating or promoting good health – health-giving, healthful, wholesome, nutritious, nourishing, beneficial

The definition of health from the Constitution of the World Health Organization (1948) is also useful to know: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

“Lifestyle” is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the way in which a person lives and this includes day-to-day behaviors, activities, culture, fun and diet

So, “healthy lifestyle” means living in a way that optimizes physical, mental and social well-being; living in a way that promotes good health, living in a way that is “wholesome” and allows you to flourish and thrive. 

Life is a daily process that involves making choices: what to wear, what to eat, which route to use to avoid the traffic. We also make choices which affect our “wholesomeness” or our physical, mental, and social well-being; the choices made over time define whether a person has a healthy lifestyle. These choices are in 4 areas: diet, physical activity, sleep, and stress (management). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 60% of factors related to health and quality of life are associated with the way we live. Regarding non-communicable diseases, choices around the use of tobacco and alcohol are also very important.


Lifestyle risk factors for NCDS

A risk factor is something that increases the chance of developing a disease or condition. The risk factors for NCDs are divided into 2 groups: those which we have no control over, namely our genetics, and those we have control over which we refer to as “modifiable” because they are influenced or modified by choices we make. These are the lifestyle risk factors, namely unhealthy diet, inadequate physical activity, smoking and harmful use of alcohol and other drugs, especially through self-prescription. Inadequate sleep and poor stress management have a bearing on health and are indirect risk factors for NCDs.

Different groups of people in our societies have different risk factors. In general, diet is the most important factor in lifestyle, and it not only has a direct and positive correlation with health but is also important at all stages of life. Unhealthy diet with consequences such as obesity is becoming more common in the urban areas and amongst people with higher education status and higher wealth status. A sedentary lifestyle characterized by low levels of physical activity, is also a key risk factor in urban areas while factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse and stress, are common in both the urban and rural areas.