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Effective action to eliminate health inequities and establish the foundations for health requires organized, systematic efforts by organizations and individuals. The major advances in life expectancy in the U.S. that occurred in the early part of the twentieth century stemmed from massive social change and the movements that supported those changes, such as the end to child labor, the introduction of housing and factory codes, the eight-hour work day, improved wage and work standards, and so forth. Individuals, community leaders, employers, policymakers and health professionals have the responsibility to show leadership through a variety of actions.
This article originally appeared in the 2009 edition of America's Health Rankings™, A Call to Action for People and Their Communities.