Advertisement

The World Health Organization – The Case for Measuring Wellbeing in Europe

  • Claudia SteinEmail author
  • Ritu Sadana
Chapter
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

The Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), adopted in 1948, defines health as “not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” but “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing”. Nevertheless, for more than 60 years WHO has neither measured nor reported on wellbeing in European Member States, focusing instead on the measurement of death, disease and disability. One of the core missions of the new European Health 2020 policy which was spear-headed by WHO is to describe the wellbeing of populations and measure progress in enhancing it in Europe. In order to achieve this goal, WHO has established an international expert group and formed an alliance of partners, which includes the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission, to define wellbeing in the context of health and to measure and track wellbeing over time. For the first time, WHO is proposing subjective and objective wellbeing measures to its Member States and will monitor progress with wellbeing across the region. This chapter outlines the rationale, the process, as well as the expectations and challenges encountered in this effort.

Keywords

Wellbeing Measurement Quality of life Happiness Indicator Target Social progress 

References

  1. Kowal, P., Chatterji, S., Naidoo, N., Biritwum, R., Fan, W., Lopez, R. R., et al. (2012). Data resource profile: The World Health Organization study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE). International Journal of Epidemiology, 41, 1639–1649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. OECD. (2013). OECD guidelines on measuring subjective well-being. OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264191655-en
  3. Office for National Statistics. (2012, July). Measuring national wellbeing: Summary of proposed domains and measures. London. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_272242.pdf
  4. Targets and Indicators for Health 2020, Version. 2. WHO Europe, Copenhagen, 2014. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/251775/Health-2020-Targets-and-indicators-version2-ENG.pdf
  5. WHO Regional Office for Europe. (2012a). Health 2020: A European policy framework supporting action across government and society for health and wellbeing. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/169803/RC62wd09-Eng.pdf. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  6. WHO Regional Office for Europe. (2012b, 8–9 February). Measurement of and target-setting for wellbeing: An initiative by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. First meeting of the expert group, Copenhagen, Denmark. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/167402/Wellbeing-experts-meeting-16-6-2012-again.pdf. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  7. WHO Regional Office for Europe. (2012c, 25–26 June). Measurement of and target-setting for wellbeing: an initiative by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Second meeting of the expert group, Paris, France. http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-wepublish/abstracts/measurement-of-and-target-setting-for-wellbeing-an-initiative-by-the-who-regionaloffice-for-europe. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  8. WHO Regional Office for Europe. (2013). The European health report 2012 – Charting the way to wellbeing. http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-do/data-and-evidence/european-health-report-2012. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  9. World Health Organization. (1948). Constitution of the World Health Organization. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  10. World Health Organization. (1998). The WHOQOL user manual. http://www.who.int/mental_health/publications/whoqol/en/index.html
  11. World Health Organization. (2001). The world health report 2001. Mental health: New understanding, new hope. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WHOGenevaSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations