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Releases Embargoed until 4 p.m. Thursday, April 1, 1999

April 2, 1999
Contact: CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A Century of Public Health:
From Fluoridation to Food Safety

CDC Celebrates Public Health Week
by launching a new MMWR series

Public health is credited for adding 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the United States in this century. Yet ask your average citizens what public health is and their reply might be limited to: "healthcare for low-income families." As Public Health Week nears, April 5-9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking a moment to remind citizens how far we've come, how we got here and exactly what public health is: the active protection of our nation's health and safety, credible information to enhance health decisions, and partnerships with local communities and organizations to promote good health.

CDC is doing this by launching a series of articles, "Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century," in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The introduction to the series and the first article, on immunizations, appear in the April 2, 1999 edition of the MMWR.

"During this last year of the century and of the millennium, we are taking time to remember what can be accomplished when persistence, innovation and luck converge in science," says Dr. Koplan. "We have come a very long way since 1900 when life expectancy was just 45 years and since 1913 when childbirth was the second leading cause of death (after tuberculosis) for reproductive age women."

For media interested in producing a series of articles or broadcasts based on the MMWR series, a calendar of topics is provided. CDC will assist media with historical photographs and footage as well as interviews with key individuals.

April 2 Series introduction Public Health Week (April 5-11)
April 2 Immunization Pediatric Immunization Week (April 18-24)
May 14 Motor-vehicle Safety Buckle Up America (May 24)
June 11 Safe Workplace National Safety Month (June)
July 16 Infection Control
August 6 Declines in deaths from heart disease and stroke
August 26 Safer and Healthier Foods National Food Safety Month (September)
Sept. 24 Healthier Mothers and Babies Child Health Day (Oct. 5)
Oct. 8 Family Planning United Nations Day of 6 billion (Oct. 12)
Oct. 22 Fluoridation of Drinking Water
Nov. 5 Tobacco as a Health Hazard Great American Smoke-out (Nov. 18)
Dec. 9 Future Directions of Public Health

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