The progress that US society has made in health promotion is evident
in the almost doubling of life expectancy in the 20th century, the compression
of morbidity, and the increased functional capacity. Much of the improvement
in health and functional ability at the end of life is influenced by what
happens much earlier in life.1 The idea that
health "develops" during childhood is evident from emerging studies tying
early health and developmental potential to later educational attainment,
disease burden, and disability.1,2 As
innovative strategies focus on promoting "health for all," optimizing the
healthy development of all children will require greater attention.2,3
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