Timeline of 10 Public Health Achievements
World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7 to bring awareness to a specific health topic picked by the World Health Organization (WHO). In honor of World Health Day, we want to take a moment to reflect on the 10 most influential public health achievements within the last century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many people suffered from foodborne infections and illnesses due to contaminated food, milk, and water. Thanks to refrigeration and pasteurization, certain diseases and foodborne illnesses were significantly reduced.
Health Insurance is Offered
Throughout the 1920s, individual hospitals began offering services to people on a pre-paid basis. This eventually led to the creation and development of health insurance organizations, and employer-sponsored hospitalization plans.
Control of Infectious Diseases
Beginning in the 1930s, there was substantial progress in disease prevention activities, including sewage disposal, water treatment, food safety, organized solid waste disposal, and public education about hygienic practices.
Cigarettes are Connected to Lung Cancer
Cigarettes were first associated with lung cancer in the 1950s. During this time, many smokers smoked unfiltered cigarettes. As the dangers of smoking became known, filters were placed on cigarettes to reduce the tar inhaled in the smoke, but this would not eliminate or even stop cancers associated with smoking.
Declines in Deaths from Heart Disease and Stroke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States since 1921, and stroke has been the third leading cause since 1938. Since 1950, deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) have declined by 60 percent. The decline was a result of advances in prevention, decrease of cigarette use, changes in the U.S. diet, and improvements in medical care. But despite this remarkable progress, heart disease and stroke remain the leading causes of disability and death today.
Implementation of Vaccines
Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health. National efforts to promote vaccine use among children began in 1955 with the appropriation of federal funds for the polio vaccine.
The 1960s proved to be an innovative time for systematic motor-vehicle safety efforts. After years of increasing motor-vehicle-related fatality rates, the Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act began regulating standards for motor vehicles and highways in 1966. Changes in both vehicle and highway design followed this mandate.
Improvements in Workplace Safety
At the beginning of the 20th century, workers in the United States faced extremely high health and safety risks on the job. Injuries decreased significantly with the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which ensures that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions.
In 1991, the National Cancer Institute and the Produce for Better Health Foundation launched a program that encouraged eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. A year later, the USDA food pyramid was introduced. The pyramid is divided into six horizontal sections with serving recommendations for each food group.
Public Health Preparedness and Response
Since 9/11, the United States has seen a significant improvement in its public health preparedness. Efforts have focused on responding to outbreaks and bioterrorism threats. The public health systems we use today have been adapted to respond to these public health threats.
Vaping as a Public Health Initiative
Today, lung cancer is one of the preventable leading causes of death and, according to David Sweanor, adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and tobacco harm reduction expert, vaping has the potential to decrease the death rate. He said:
“The refrigerator was a commercial response to a consumer need that solved the leading cause of cancer death in those days. We now have the leading cause of cancer death being lung cancer because of cigarette smoking. We can give them an alternative.”
Halo is dedicated to improving public health by offering alternatives to adults who smoke cigarettes.
What are you doing today to show your support for World Health Day? Let us know in the comment section below.
The opinions and other information contained in these blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Nicopure Labs, LLC, owner of the Halo and Halo Cigs marks.
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