Tobacco use: In the 1950s, more than half of adults smoked; today, the figure is less than 1 in 5.
Vaccination: Once-common killers of children such as polio, smallpox and measles have virtually disappeared.
Motor vehicles : The rate of road deaths has fallen by more than half since the 1970s through initiatives like seatbelt laws.
Workplaces: Safety initiatives and greater attention to physical environment has improved the lot of workers.
Infectious diseases: Epidemics of cholera, typhus and tuberculosis were once common.
Cardiovascular health: Changes in diet and investment in prevention have led to sharp declines in death from heart disease and stroke.
Food: Regulation and inspection has dramatically reduced food-borne disease.
Mothers and babies: A century ago, one in seven children died before age 2, and death during childbirth was common.
Family planning: The legalization of birth control and decriminalization of abortion has given women reproductive rights.
Environment: Air pollution and water pollution are far less common.
Social programs: Medicare, child benefits and old-age pensions have reduced inequities.
Acting on social determinants: There is a growing recognition that education, housing and income are keys to health outcomes.
Source: Canadian Public Health Association
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