MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Health and Illness

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Example Questions

Example Question #2 : Culture

In 1946, the World Health Organization defined "health" at the International Health Conference, held in New York. The definition was entered into force in 1948 and has not been amended since.

According to the World Health Organization, what is the defintion of health?

Possible Answers:

Health is the absence of disease. 

Health is required for human equality. 

Health is the building block of human society. 

Health is the right not to be sick. 

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Correct answer:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Explanation:

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health to include well-being and not just the absence of disease. Thus the answer is not the absence of disease. The WHO believes that health is a right, but does not state that health is the right not to be sick. Everyone becomes sick at one time or another. The WHO would not argue with the notion that health is required for equality (though the WHO would likely prefer the word equity), but would not use this as a definition of health. First and foremost, health is about well-being. 

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