Public Health (cont.)

Family planning Access to family planning and contraceptive services has altered social and economic roles of women. Family planning has provided health benefits such as smaller family size and longer interval between the birth of children; increased opportunities for preconceptional counseling and screening; fewer infant, child, and maternal deaths; and the use of barrier contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and transmission of human immunodeficiency virus and other STDs.

Fluoridation of drinking water Fluoridation of drinking water began in 1945 and in 1999 reaches an estimated 144 million persons in the United States. Fluoridation safely and inexpensively benefits both children and adults by effectively preventing tooth decay, regardless of socioeconomic status or access to care. Fluoridation has played an important role in the reductions in tooth decay (40%- 70% in children) and of tooth loss in adults (40%-60%).

Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard and subsequent public health anti- smoking campaigns have resulted in changes in social norms to prevent initiation of tobacco use, promote cessation of use, and reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Since the 1964 Surgeon General's report on the health risks of smoking, the prevalence of smoking among adults has decreased, and millions of smoking-related deaths have been prevented.

This Health Fact is based on:
Ten Great Public Health Achievements -- United States, 1900-1999
Published in MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Reference: MMWR 1999;48(12);241-243.

-- Medical Editor, MedicineNet.com
Last Editorial Review: 2/1/2005



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