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Fam Med. 1987 Jul-Aug;19(4):291-5.

Andrija Stampar and the concept of positive health.

Family medicine

C Seipp

PMID: 3305121


The literature in the health and medical care field contains a heavy burden of obscure rhetoric and semantic slight of hand. Terms gain a usage which belies the reality to which they refer, code words come to serve as a substitute for thought, and concepts seemingly acquire a life of their own. Such is the case with the concept of positive health. For almost four decades this concept has been bandied about. Often it is raised only to be disclaimed or with the intent to depreciate its relevance. However, it is probably invoked with equal frequency as an ambiguous but reassuring kind of appeal. Discussions of the concept rarely deal with its operational implications and never seem to manifest appreciation of its origin. Attention is here directed to its original formulation and to Andrija Stampar, the person most directly responsible for this, in order to facilitate consideration of its current significance.

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