What is and is not “wellness”?

From “What is wellness now?” by Anna Kirkland:

So why, then, has accident prevention not been part of wellness discourse? It is personal, nonexpert-driven, and part of individual responsibility for health. (In the workplace context, preventing industrial accidents predates any wellness concerns and would be considered already addressed with other policies.) Storing firearms separately from ammunition and in a locked gun safe is not part of wellness, for example, nor is learning to swim or taking a defensive driving course. Accident prevention is too distant from the body and too isolated and abruptly temporal to count as wellness. Wearing a life jacket while boating or refraining from texting while driving are not lifestyles. A cynic might say that it is not wellness unless its achievement also advances one’s ability to appear physically as an elite member of our society—thin, toned, and energetic at any age. […]

Wellness in the United States has become more focused on the attainment of specific biometric goals at the same time as it has become highly managerialized within the business world as employers seek to lower their health care costs.

Perhaps another way to ask the question is, where do wellness and public health intersect, if at all?


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