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June 3, 2009

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Children: It's Never Too Early

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dr Zylke (jody.zylke@jama-archives.org) is Contributing Editor and Dr DeAngelis is Editor in Chief, JAMA.

JAMA. 2009;301(21):2270-2271. doi:10.1001/jama.281.16.1544

Health promotion and disease prevention are as integral to childhood as play. They start in utero, when a mother takes prenatal vitamins or refrains from drinking alcohol or smoking; continue after a child is born when a mother breastfeeds; and are addressed daily, when parents make sure a child snacks on fruit instead of junk food or plays outside rather than watches television. Parents are guided in their efforts by their child's clinicians, a major portion of whose practices are devoted to health promotion and disease prevention, such as administering immunizations or recommending car seats and bicycle helmets. Many of these interventions are very cost-effective.