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July 14, 2015

Evaluation of Wellness Determinants and Interventions by Citizen Scientists

Author Affiliations
  • 1LSE Health, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, California
  • 3Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 4Department of Statistics, Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2015;314(2):121-122. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6160

Most medical research focuses on disease rather than health. Yet people are interested predominantly in health and wellness. Wellness refers to diverse and interconnected dimensions of physical, mental, and social well-being that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. It includes choices and activities aimed at achieving physical vitality, mental alacrity, social satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, and personal fulfillment. Equally healthy people may differ vastly in terms of their wellness, eg, whether their life is filled with creativity, altruism, friendship, and physical and intellectual achievement. Disease is incompatible with health, but not with wellness. For example, a dying patient who has led a rewarding life and is surrounded by a loving family and friends may still enjoy high wellness.

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