Get our free book on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
What communities can do
Overview, see right hand column for more
Why it matters
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value and because of the problem created by use of the word "complete". Other definitions have been proposed, among which a recent definition that correlates health and personal satisfaction.
The term "healthy" is also widely used in the context of many types of non-living organizations and their impacts for the benefit of humans, such as in the sense of healthy communities, healthy cities or healthy environments. In addition to health care interventions and a person's surroundings, a number of other factors are known to influence the health status of individuals, including their background, lifestyle, and economic, social conditions, and spirituality; these are referred to as "determinants of health." Studies have shown that high levels of stress can affect human health. W
The World Health Organization describes mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". Mental Health is not just the absence of mental illness. W
Green exercise refers to physical exercise undertaken in natural environments. Physical exercise is well known to provide physical and psychological health benefits. There is also good evidence that viewing, being in, and interacting with natural environments has positive effects, reducing stress and increasing the ability to cope with stress, reducing mental fatigue and improving concentration and cognitive function. W
The Conservation Volunteers' (UK community volunteering charity that works to create healthier and happier communities for everyone through environmental conservation) Green Gym programme aims to provide people with a way to enhance their fitness and health while taking action to improve the outdoor environment. It can be seen as enabling people to get fit who would not normally attend a conventional gym or sports centre. W
News and comment
Can Commons Thinking Drive a New Health System? Nov 30 
World’s first passive house hospital planned, July 18 
Integrated health strategies can save children’s lives, says UNICEF flagship, State of the World’s Children Report 2008, January 22 
October 10 - World Mental health Day