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M1: Compare historical and current features of public health.

Public health is the population’s health. As such, the broad aims of modern public health policies have been to ensure that the health of all members of a community is protected and improved. Advice on diet, exercise and cleanliness is found throughout the works of Hippocrates - the ancient Greeks understood some of the beneficial links between lifestyle, environment and health. Inevitably these Greek ideas became incorporated into Roman life. But while the ancient Greeks, as in ancient China and India, instituted some central control of public health, this greatly increased under the Romans. Piped water, street cleaning and public toilets and baths became part of everyday Roman life - for the privileged. The majority of the empire’s population remained in relative squalor.

From the 1000s, growing international trade renewed urbanization in western Europe. Unfortunately, disease was commonplace in these towns and cities. Leprosy was especially widespread and laws forcing the isolation of people with leprosy were passed throughout the medieval period. Such powers were expanded in the wake of the Black Death and the subsequent waves of plague that returned over several centuries. Although plague was declining by the 1700s, epidemic diseases continued to strike. But there was less need for the strict public health measures of the plague years. Instead, a closer interest in the underlying health of populations began. Counting and valuing - characteristics of trading nations with growing empires - were now applied to populations. Censuses, disease statistics, birth rates and bills of mortality marked the earliest beginnings of epidemiology, the ‘science’ of public health. The need for government involvement in public health

By the late 1700s, Britain was evolving into the first industrialized nation, a revolution that created public health challenges of a type still faced today as industrialization...
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