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Quality of life and health: a necessary debate

This paper discusses the relationships between quality of life and health by applying the discourses emerging in the health sector to other fields and other disciplines. These relationships constitute social representation based on subjective parameters (well-being, happiness, love, pleasure, personal satisfaction), and on objective ones such as satisfaction of basic needs and of the needs created by the degree of economical and social development of a given society. The text presents the main instruments which have been constructed during the last years for measuring quality of life, as well as the debate they cause. It also debates the semantic field where the representations and actions in favour of quality of life - such as the concept of development, democracy, quality, way and conditions of life - develop. In relation to the field of health, this article discusses the tendency to restrict the concept of quality of life to the biomedical area, associated with an economic assessment. It shows the variety of instruments created for measuring quality of life in accordance with the concept. Health promotion is considered one of the most relevant strategies in this field in order to avoid medical reductionism and to develop an interdisciplinary dialogue. It is argued that this proposal, however, still needs to be refined and tested in sanitary practices.

Quality of Life; Indicators for Quality of Life; Health Promotion

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