Health in hard times: Wellness, part 2

The pursuit of health and happiness continues this week in the second of our two-part focus on wellness. Last week, we noted Western North Carolina's history as a health mecca and its growing reputation as a nexus for both Western and Eastern medicine traditions — from 19th-century tuberculosis sanitariums to modern cardiac centers and traditional acupuncturists. Here's another tidbit of history that helped form how we think of wellness today: In 1958, physician Halbert Dunn presented a short paper at the annual meeting of the Middle States Public Health Association in Milwaukee, Wisc., and later that year to the Missouri office of the American Public Health Association. The paper was titled, "High-Level Wellness for Man and Society," and in it, Dunn laid out the notions and recommendations that evolved into the concept of wellness as we understand it today.

He opened his paper with a quote from the World Health Organization's constitution at the time, which defined health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity." But the focus on disease and death, Dunn posited, provides only part of a broader notion called "wellness." He continued, "The state of being well is not a relatively flat, uninteresting area of 'unsickness' but is rather a fascinating and ever-changing panorama of life itself, inviting exploration of its every dimension. … High-level wellness can never be achieved in fragments, ignoring the unity of the whole."

That's food for thought, but meanwhile, consider our topics this week: health trends, healthy eating, young adults and H1N1, and programs for free and low-cost care and prescription medicines. To see all our wellness articles, go to In the course of developing these wellness issues, we have received a number of submissions from practitioners, which we plan to share online as well. We invite local health professionals of all modalities to submit wellness tips at

And perhaps, along the way, as Dunn wrote, we'll find "a balanced wellness of body, mind, and spirit."

In this week’s issue

Faultless frugal food

Wellness trends for 2010

We care

Saving drug money

Stress less in 2010

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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