DGC-What’s the Difference between “Health” and “Wellness”?

Everywhere you look, it seems “Health” and “Wellness” are bundled together – like coffee & cream, knife & fork, left & right. It’s like they’re inseparable.

These real-world items and descriptions are easy to discern … nobody will ever mistake a knife for a fork.  But health & wellness are more vague.

So what is the difference?

I went to “The Google” to explore this, and here’s what I found:

From the dictionary:



Note how health is defined as a condition, and wellness is defined as an actively sought goal.

And therein lies the critical difference between the two.  Health is a state of being, and wellness is something you do to improve it.

Maybe some more viewpoints might be:

  • Health is what you are; Wellness is what you do.
  • Health is a measurement; Wellness is what you do to improve it.
  • Health is a noun; Wellness is a verb.

The World Health Organization says, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” It’s the whole enchilada: physical ailments, emotional health and social fitness.

Meanwhile, the Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”

So, assuming good or optimal health is the goal, wellness includes all the things one does to achieve it.


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