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World Health Day -- April 7, 1994

The theme for World Health Day (April 7, 1994), "Oral Health for a Healthy Life," will be used throughout 1994, the "Year of Oral Health." Worldwide, oral health problems affect persons of all ages; dental caries and gingival infections represent the most common chronic health problems in many countries. For example, in the United States, 84% of persons aged 17 years have evidence of present or past tooth decay; one third of persons aged greater than 65 years are edentulous; approximately half the population has gingival infections; and approximately 30,000 cases of and nearly 8000 deaths from cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx occur each year (1).

World Health Day is cosponsored by 24 health-related organizations including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the American Association for World Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the United States, examples of scheduled events include presentation of World Health Day awards; a panel discussion featuring leaders in dental research, education, and services delivery; and presentation of a video-tape highlighting World Health Day events. Throughout the year, 50,000 resource kits and posters printed in English and Spanish will be distributed in the United States (2), and additional activities are planned by federal agencies, businesses, and professional organizations.

This issue of MMWR focuses on oral health and comprises reports about examinations for oral cancer, use of the core functions of public health to improve oral health, and self-reported tuberculin skin testing among Indian Health Service and Federal Bureau of Prisons dentists. Additional information and resource material about World Health Day are available from the American Association for World Health, 1129 20th Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 466-5883.

Reported by: Div of Oral Health, National Center for Prevention Svcs, CDC.


  1. Oral Health Coordinating Committee, Public Health Service. Toward improving the oral health of Americans: an overview of oral health status, resources, and care delivery. Public Health Rep 1993;108:657-72.

  2. American Association for World Health. World Health Day 1994 resource booklet. Washington, DC: American Association for World Health, 1994.

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