Wellness and Wellbeing Essay Example

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Wellness can be defined as a holistic state of physical, mental and social well being (Robbins, 2009). The state of wellness is further enhanced by the availability of balance among all the factors that contribute to it. Wellness is additionally described as an integrated and changing level of functioning focused towards maximizing potential and dependence towards self responsibility (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). The general perception of society on wellness is focused on curative health as opposed to preventive health due to the general notion of health as absence of disease or infirmity. The various determinants of wellness include hereditary factors, social situations, environmental state, lifestyle and medical care (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). This paper will focus on the wellness and wellbeing of children. The significance of children’s health cannot be undermined as it determines their development and ultimately contributes to a large part of their future. This essay will therefore outline various health issues affecting children and discuss them based on wellness and wellbeing.

Childhood Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part in life and depending on the kind of stress and how it is handled; a child can either benefit or suffer from it. Stress therefore involves influences on an individual that could be internal or external and which affect the usual state of well being of the individual (Lovallo, 2015). The main types of stress are positive stress, tolerable stress and toxic stress. Toxic stress is very detrimental to the growth of a child as it can negatively affect brain development thus making the child exposed to risky health behavior and problems (Kearns, 2010). Managing childhood stress involves creation of awareness on childhood stress, parental education and children education.

Chronic Illnesses in Children

Chronic illnesses involve physical and mental conditions that have an impact on the daily functioning of an individual for periods more than a three months or a year (Sarafino and Smith, 2014). Chronic illnesses have several effects on a child in the different dimensions of wellness (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). The impact is usually harder on a child who was well before then gets a chronic illness. The care of children with chronic illnesses usually falls on the hands of the family with regular visits expected to the hospital. The parents therefore need to be well advised and also provided with a support system that helps them take care of their child. In the case of rehabilitation the hospital cares for children with the chronic illness but they equally require a strong social support system to deal with the wellness crisis.

Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Social Determinants of Child Health

Good nutrition is imperative for the physical growth among children, their survival, performance, mental development, productivity and overall wellbeing (Sellers, 2005). Physical activity on the other hand also promotes health and wellbeing of children and helps to avoid some diseases. The overall wellness of children is equally determined by social factors such as the communities they come from and their beliefs, lifestyles, family backgrounds, occupation and general childcare.


From the discussion above wellness is important for the overall health of the society and there needs to be a change from taking healthcare seriously after a health problem to preventive mechanisms such as making wellness a way of life.


The concept of wellness and wellbeing is more often than not related to the absence of disease which shows a very minute facet of health and wellbeing (Liamputtong, 2012). Wellness largely encompasses different dimensions whose excellent state guarantees wellness. This paper seeks to discuss wellness and in particular health issues that affect the wellness of children. Most people lack the discipline to look after their own wellness unless they have an assured health crisis which forces them to seek health care. With this tendency in place, it is very difficult to handle children with their wellness in mind as old habits will be passed over thus affecting their development and wellness habits. The significance of children’s health cannot be undermined as it determines their development and ultimately contributes to a large part of their future. The following sections therefore discuss wellness and the different health issues that affect young children using the different types of wellness as a guide and how these issues can be managed. The health issues discussed include childhood stress, chronic illnesses and nutrition, physical activity and the social determinants of child health. The aim of the essay is to discuss the effect of the health issues among children and other members as well suggest solutions for the management of these situations.

Dimensions of Wellness

Physical wellness primarily involves physical activities, good nutrition and personal care. One important aspect of physical wellness is preventive care through actions that take care of an individual’s body (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). Studies show that preventive care associated with physical wellness greatly reduces the risk of diseases (Hoeger and Hoeger, 2014). Basic activities that improve physical wellness encompass maintenance of fitness, a healthy diet and knowledge of how the body responds to diverse factors such as stress, events, feelings and diseases.

Psychological wellness, also referred to as emotional wellness encompasses the awareness of feelings, management of feelings and the realistic view of the self including coping mechanisms involved with emotional circumstances (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). The achievement of emotional wellness is reflected in the positive nature of an individual, control and optimism. Maintenance of emotional wellness is significant as well and relates to the ability to keep the positive nature and the ability to bounce back from stressful situations.

Social wellness is concerned with the extent and quality of interactions that an individual has with other individuals, the community and the environment (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). Inclusive of social wellness is the ability to express oneself through interaction with and contribution to the community. A support network of caring family and friends enables social wellbeing and individuals who have such a support system have been proven to be happier. Intellectual wellness consists of the extent to which an individual engages in activities that are stimulating and creative. Evidence of intellectual wellness includes commitment to lifelong learning, great endeavor in assisting other individuals through the sharing of knowledge and the development of skills and capabilities so that the individual can experience a more fulfilling life. Awareness of cultural events, studying, traveling and media exposure is connected to intellectual wellness. Spiritual wellness covers the concept of beliefs and values and is extended through religion where an individual implements their spirituality through certain behavior. Occupational wellness on the other hand is concerned with the contribution of an individual’s capabilities in the workplace in ways that are meaningful through rewarded or unpaid work (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). Occupational wellness encompasses the attitude of an individual about work and the satisfaction achieved from working.

Environmental wellness involves the balance achieved both at home and the place of work. Environmental wellness additionally concerns the balance found between the individual and the community resources as well as nature (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). The different environments that an individual finds balance with when they have environmental wellness include cultural environment and political environment.

The types of wellness discussed show that individuals need a holistic approach to wellness as each dimension mentioned is imperative to the wellness of the whole being. These dimensions of wellness are however minutely perceived by most individuals as there is a common wellness approach of seeking curative intervention rather than preventive.

Childhood Stress

Stress consists of a part of life that is inevitable as it comes in so many different forms which can affect anyone. Stress involves influences on an individual that could be internal or external and which affect the usual state of well being of the individual (Lovallo, 2015). Childhood stress poses a risk especially if the stress is detrimental to their well being. The different kinds of stress include positive stress which is as a result of new and diverse experiences that take a short time. The type of stress causes minor change and can be managed through support and care from adults. Positive stress is additionally considered normal and the way in which children cope with it is an essential part of the development process.

Tolerable stress involves experiences that are diverse, to larger extent more intense and ones that take a short time (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). This form of stress may include disruption in the family, the death of a loved one or an accident that is frightening. This stress can also be overcome with the support and care of an adult. In this scenario the stress can become positive stress and help the child to develop positively but with lack of support the stress may become toxic and result to long term detrimental effects.

Toxic stress stems from experiences that are adverse and intense and which take place over a long period of time (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). This type of stress may include neglect or abuse of a child over months or years. The management of this stress cannot be done singularly by the child. Toxic stress requires adult intervention with adequate support and care in order to lessen it.

During early childhood the ability to manage stress is controlled by circuits in the child’s brain (Thompson, 2014). The continuous exposure to the stress hormones is likely to bring about brain impairment. In the extreme case of brain impairment, a child is likely to develop a smaller brain than expected. Brain circuits are equally very susceptible during early childhood development. Toxic stress may disrupt the expected functioning of the bran circuits making the child develop a low tolerance for stress. This will lead to the child having an adverse reaction to stress as opposed to the expected reactions. The presence of high levels of stress hormones cause a suppressed immune function and this leaves the body open to chronic problems with health. Continual levels of cortisol, a stress hormone is likely to affect the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. These effects reveal that childhood stress has a high impact on adult health as it the effects of toxic stress may go on through development into adulthood. A study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2008 revealed that early exposure to stress led children to engage in prohibited behavior such as drinking, smoking, illicit sex and use of illicit substances (Chung et al, 2016). Children with toxic stress such as victims of sexual abuse were highly likely to commit suicide,

Strategies to reduce childhood stress include the provision of education to parents concerning child maltreatment which is a major cause of toxic stress (Thompson, 2014). The parents are taught different forms of disciplinary methods that are safe to use on children. Provision of education to children involves informing them of risky health behavior and encouraging them to report abuse. This is however difficult to manage as the people to whom the child may report the abuse to may be those they trust and may be the same perpetrators of the abuse. Treatment is also effective in reducing the impact of toxic stress or eliminating it. Early identification of toxic stress in a child will help in the provision of therapy and the monitoring of development so that appropriate action can be taken.

Relationship level strategies provide a learning environment for parents and their children to interact positively and thus reduce childhood stress. Social level strategies involve raising awareness in the community on childhood stress, its effects and its treatment.

Chronic Illnesses in Children

Chronic illnesses involve physical and mental conditions that have an impact on the daily functioning of an individual for periods more than a three months or a year (Sarafino and Smith, 2014). Chronic illnesses that affect children include epilepsy, chromosomal anomalies, chronic renal insufficiency, cerebral palsy, diabetes, anemia and physical handicaps.

Chronic illnesses affect the emotional wellness of a child as they have to deal with feelings of shock, confusion, sorrow, anger and the elevated intensity for interpersonal relationships. Coping with medical requirements, routines and activities are confusing to the child and they are faced with the question of why the condition happened to them (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). Seeing other healthy children may bring about feelings of anger or self pity. The emotions that accompany chronic illnesses in children highly contribute to their treatment process and negative feelings are detrimental to the management of the illness. The physical wellness of a child is affected as they might be unable to perform regular activities done by children who are well. Physical wellness primarily involves physical activities, good nutrition and personal care. The nutrition needs of the child are restricted based on the chronic illness such as diabetes where the child may have to desist partaking in sugary items.

The social wellness of a child with chronic illness is affected as they have to deal with self esteem issues. Furthermore, the fear of being rejected and their limited capabilities is highly likely to cause them to withdraw to their personal comfort zones. Children with chronic illnesses additionally disconnect with the environment which affects their environmental wellness. Environmental wellness concerns the balance found between the individual and the community resources as well as natural resources. Children with chronic illnesses may feel like they are unable to contribute to their environment due to the illness affecting them.

The major effects of chronic illnesses are experienced by the child going through them. The family of the child is affected as well as they have to deal with a condition that stresses their loved one and stresses them as well . Parents therefore experience despair and distress which is completely normal but which also affects their overall wellness. Among the emotions that parents go through are feelings of guilt as they may feel responsible for their child’s infirmity especially if the child is born with it. The parents also feel inadequate as they are unable to eliminate the source of distress to their child. The different feelings and experiences of parents influence their reactions to the illnesses which may range from hiding the sick child, ignoring the sickness in the child, seeing extreme intervention in divinities and genuinely seeking out for the best form of help.

These reactions show the need for a proper support system from health care givers, other family members and the community. Open communication is really important in the care of children with chronic illnesses as the child, the parents and any other care givers are able to vent their feelings, suggest new ideas and therefore build constructive adaption to the chronic illness (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). The care of the child involves preparing them to accept the illness and helping them ease into the adaptive requirements for the illness such as hospital stays, therapeutic requirements and dietary requirements. Parents provide the needed reassurance to the child and they are given support and training on how to cope with their ill child.

Early diagnosis of chronic illnesses reduces the harmful consequences of the illness. Some chronic illnesses can be avoided as well through instilling the need for overall wellness to children at an early age. Extensive knowledge of the illness and the circumstances that show danger signs or those that could lead to it need to be understood by the parents in order to support their child.

Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Social Determinants of Child Health

Good nutrition is imperative for the physical growth among children, their survival, performance, mental development, productivity and overall wellbeing (Kearns, 2010). Healthy feeding among children starts from infantry where breast milk is very essential for building the infant’s immunity. Complementary nutrition that is recommended by experts can also be given to infants in the absence of breast milk. Young children need a healthy diet with maximum inclusion of vegetables and fruits to help with their immunity. Good nutrition enables children to have excellent physical growth and reduces their susceptibility to common childhood illnesses and other chronic illnesses. Long lasting impacts of good nutrition include increased productivity, increased performance and reduced negative health.

Physical activity equally promotes long lasting health among children and through their journey to adulthood (McMurray and Clendon, 2011). It is recommended that young children from the age of six have at least an hour of physical activity (Chow et al, 2015). The benefits of physical activity among children include improvement of the cardio system and the respiratory system, controlling of weight especially given the health crisis of obesity, building of muscle and bones and reduction of the risk of getting dire health conditions. Physical inactivity leads to low bone density in both children and adults which could result to osteoporosis. Physical inactivity also increases the risk of acquiring diabetes and increases the risk of factors that lead to heart problems. Energy imbalance from physical inactivity elevates the risk of being overweight.

Social determinants of health among children include the geographical location which may influence the kind of nutrition based on the foods that are available in the region. Community and religious beliefs also influence health such as forbidding certain foods (Portsmouth, 2012). Religious beliefs may prohibit certain physical activities or wellness practices thus affecting the wellness of children. Cultures could promote physical activities especially in regions where sports are highly encouraged. Other cultures promote unhealthy eating such as massive consumption of meats. The lifestyle of the family equally promotes wellness as children will socially learn from what their family members do. An instance is the norm of taking care of health problems after they occur as opposed to preventive healthcare and wellness as a lifestyle. Current urban lifestyles encourage excessive consumption of junk food which is unhealthy for children and physical inactivity encouraged by use televisions, computers and phones (Portsmouth, 2012). The medical society has also failed to address wellness appropriately as it rather profits from the negative effects of unhealthy lifestyles. Unhealthiness has additionally been viewed as a business opportunity making the task of observing wellness more difficult as solutions are presented to increasing illnesses.


In conclusion therefore, the concept of wellness needs to be adopted as a lifestyle in order to reduce to reduce the rising cases of health in the society. As McMurray (2011) writes, wellness should be a continuous process, a commitment to well being and a way of life. From adopting this wellness approach, it is easier to manage the health of young children as they grow up shouldering self responsibility for their own wellness.


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