Improve your IELTS vocabulary on “Health”

In this series, we’ve looked at how to expand your vocabulary for your IELTS by creating vocabulary sets on common IELTS themes. So far, we’ve explored the topics of education, transportation, environment and travel & holidays. In this fifth and final part of the blog series, we’ll be focusing on the topic of health.

Vocabulary on health

Health is a very common IELTS theme, and the questions related to this topic usually focus on the sub-topics of eating habits, fitness and wellbeing. For example, on your Speaking test, you may be asked to talk about your exercise routine or diet, or discuss the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On your Writing test (more specifically in Writing Task 2), you might have to write about modern problems related to health (e.g. lack of exercise for children) and explore possible solutions to these issues. Or you could be asked to explore the different things that governments or other organizations can do to help people lead a healthier way of life.

Set 1: Fitness

shape

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

good physical condition

collocations:

in/out of shape

stay in shape

get back into shape

example:

I knew I was out of shape when I started getting out of breath running up the stairs.

pronunciation:

/ʃeɪp/


toned

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

describing a firm and strong body

collocations:

toned body/muscles

toned legs/arms/abs

example:

There’s no denying that in order to have a toned body you need to exercise regularly.

pronunciation:

/təʊnd/

vigorous

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

involving physical strength, effort or energy

collocations:

vigorous exercise

extremely/very vigorous

quite vigorous

example:

Extremely vigorous exercise can increase the risk of injury and even heart attacks.

pronunciation:

/ˈvɪɡ.ər.əs/

Set 2: Eating habits

comfort food

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

the type of food that provides a feeling of well-being, often sweet food or food that people used to eat as children

collocations:

a great comfort food

to be considered (a) comfort food

example:

Eating pancakes makes me happy – it’s a great comfort food.

pronunciation:

/ˈkʌm.fət ˌfuːd/

portion

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

the amount of food served to a person

collocations:

double/generous/large portion

small/tiny portion

individual portion

a portion of (something)

divide (something) into portions

example:

It’s important to add a generous portion of fruit and vegetables to every meal.

pronunciation:

/ˈpɔː.ʃən/

dietary

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

relating to your diet

collocations:

dietary habits

dietary requirement

dietary supplement

example:

Dietary habits can be difficult to change.

pronunciation:

/ˈdaɪ.ə.tər.i/

Set 3: Health issues

overweight

part of speech:

adjective

meaning:

above a weight considered normal

collocations:

an overweight man/woman/child

to be overweight

very/seriously overweight

a bit/a little/slightly/a few pounds overweight

example:

The growing number of overweight children is very worrying.

pronunciation:

/ˌəʊ.vəˈweɪt/

diabetes

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

a medical condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood

collocations:

cause diabetes

get/have diabetes

suffer from diabetes

example:

The biggest problem with eating too much sugar is that it can cause diabetes.

pronunciation:

/ˌdaɪ.əˈbiː.tiːz/

fatigue

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

extreme tiredness

collocations:

extreme/severe fatigue

suffer from fatigue

combat/fight (off)/reduce fatigue

example:

I fought off fatigue by changing my diet and exercise habits.

pronunciation:

/fəˈtiːɡ/

Set 4: Healthcare

medical insurance (also medical cover)

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

insurance for the cost of medical treatment

collocations:

buy/have medical insurance

provide medical insurance

private medical insurance

to be without medical insurance

medical insurance policy/plan

medical insurance costs/premiums

example:

I believe that a country’s government should be responsible for providing medical insurance for its citizens.

pronunciation:

/ˈmed.ɪ.kəl ɪnˌʃɔː.rəns/

immunisation (US immunization)

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

the process of protecting a person or animal from a disease by putting a substance into the body

collocations:

routine immunisation

mass immunisation

the use of immunisations

example:

The topic of immunisation is a controversial one, as some people believe that the use of immunisations is linked to autism.

pronunciation:

/ˌim.jə.naɪˈzeɪ.ʃən/

surgery

part of speech:

noun

meaning:

the process of cutting open the body to treat an injury or disease

collocations:

have/undergo surgery

surgery on (part of the body)

recover from surgery

example:

I was recovering from back surgery then, so I was unable to play any sports or do any kind of vigorous exercise.

pronunciation:

/ˈsɜː.dʒər.i/

Even though you won’t need any specific medical vocabulary for your IELTS test, you may choose to talk about an important medical experience you or someone you know has had. In such cases, it would be a good idea to create vocabulary sets with words and phrases that you can use to talk about your experience (e.g. ‘in hospital’ or ‘physical therapy’).

Health idioms

Some health idioms that you can use on your IELTS include the following:

idiom

meaning

example

a clean bill of health

a decision by a doctor that someone is healthy

After months of treatment, I was given a clean bill of health by my doctor.

be back on your feet

to be healthy again after a period of illness

It didn’t take very long for her to be back on her feet again.

be (as) fit as a fiddle/flea

to be healthy and strong

My grandfather is in his 90s, but he’s fit as a fiddle.

Now that we’ve reached the final post of our series, let me remind you to keep expanding your vocabulary sets so that they’re relevant to you, and continue to revise them during your IELTS preparation period. Feel free to create new vocabulary sets on other themes you consider important – now you have the tools to create relevant vocabulary sets for your IELTS test!

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