ABSTRACT In the past decades health care and medicine in most countries got more or less in a state of crisis. This is not surprising because, so far, there is no consensus about the nature of health. This shortcoming inhibits constructive, interdisciplinary dialogues about health values. It renders priority setting controversial and subject to power struggles. A new definition of health, known as the Meikirch Model, could correct this deficiency. It states: “Health is a dynamic state of wellbeing characterized by a physical, mental and social potential, which satisfies the demands of a life commensurate with age, culture, and personal responsibility. If the potential is insufficient to satisfy these de-mands the state is disease.” The potential is composed of a biologically given and a person-ally acquired component. Thus this definition characterizes health with six essential features, which are suitable for an analysis of and priority setting in medical consultations and in health care policy decisions. A wide discussion about this definition of health followed by its imple-mentation is expected to render health care in-dividually and socially more beneficial.
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