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Historical and Policy Perspectives of Child Health in the United States 

Historical and Policy Perspectives of Child Health in the United States
Chapter:
Historical and Policy Perspectives of Child Health in the United States
Author(s):

Katherine A. Henry

and Mienah Zulfacar Sharif

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199309375.003.0002
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date: 24 February 2020

The history of child health in the United States is both the history of children’s health and the history of our society’s response to the health problems and diseases of children. As the health of children is closely related to the health of the overall population, child health is closely related to public health in general. Although some childhood diseases and health problems are caused by specific agents (for example, bacteria, pollutants, or genes), child health is also influenced by environmental and social conditions. A historical account of child health, therefore, needs to address not only trends in disease incidence and prevalence but also changes in the social, political, economic, and physical environments that coincided with those trends. In this chapter the authors focus primarily on the historical context of child health in the United States, without intending to diminish historical perspectives in other nations.

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