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Comment & Response
September 10, 2019

Flourishing as a Definition of Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, California
JAMA. 2019;322(10):981. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10343

To the Editor Dr VanderWeele and colleagues presented a measure of human flourishing comprising 6 subscales: happiness, mental and physical health, meaning and purpose, character, close personal relationships, and financial stability.1 They proposed a number of uses for this whole-person assessment, eg, to understand the complex context of patient decision-making or clinician burnout, or as an overarching goal for public policy making. However, they also suggested flourishing as a way to redefine health. I would argue that while it might be helpful in guiding health decisions, flourishing is too broad a concept to serve as a workable definition of health.