Public Health Precedents

Public health problems of comparably broad scope and complexity have been successfully addressed in the past (Economos et al., 2001), and this experience gives us not only the confidence that childhood obesity too can be moderated, even prevented, but supplies us with some of the needed tools. This solid public health history of achievements is exemplified in Box 1-1 (CDC, 1999; Appendix D).

Many of these problems were not apparent at first, and grew to become an accepted part of life before they were recognized and subsequently addressed. For example, in 1900, with only approximately 8,000 cars on the roads, it was surely inconceivable that motor vehicle deaths could reach a peak of 56,278 per year in 1972 (U.S. Department of Transportation, 1995; Waller, 2002). Multifocal interventions on vehicular safety and high-

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