Introduction

In the early years of the last century the life expectancy of most Americans was approximately forty-five years of age. The length of life has increased for men and women in this country by over thirty years since then. A large portion of this longevity is the direct result of public health activities associated with immunizations, health education programs, and various prevention programs developed by state and local public health departments. This represents a success story for public health in the United States.

The activities of public health departments, which focus on the prevention of health problems before they occur, make up one of the most important components for achieving better population health in every community in ...

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