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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 2117-2132
Review Article

The Good Life: A Holistic Approach to the Health of the Population

The Good Life Research Centre Trust, Christchurch, New Zealand

Received 22 January 2006; Revised 13 March 2006; Accepted 28 March 2006

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2006 Said¬†Shahtahmasebi.


The idea of a holistic approach towards public health planning presented itself through a food-related and trivial curiosity. It is, however, emphasized that food and nutrition are only one aspect of public health. The aim is to reintroduce a holistic approach to achieve sustainable public health with emphasis on the interpretation of the term “holistic”. Holistic decision making is not a new phenomenon and has historical basis. In line with shifts in social norms, decision making has evolved. In particular, various complex models for public health have been proposed to respond to ever-increasing health issues. The advancement in mathematical sciences and technology has led to the quantification of health models. However, mathematical representations pose a major limitation on the holistic approach. Due to its evolutionary nature, human health is dynamically related to social, environmental, and other processes. With the current knowledge, it is difficult to quantify the evolution and feedback effects in holistic models. In this paper, the individual's and public's health is viewed as a dynamic process, but not independent of other dynamic processes (e.g., agriculture, economy, politics) that are all part of a much bigger process. Furthermore, it is argued that it is not merely sufficient to account for all known factors to be holistic. In this paper, the holistic conceptual model is illustrated, using public health as the central issue. The application of the conceptual model is also discussed using two practical examples.