Public health medicine is concerned with maintaining and improving the health of the population by identifying and tackling the factors in our lifestyle and environment which threaten health. When the speciality was founded the greatest scourges of the population were infectious diseases whose spread was fostered by bad and unsanitary housing, polluted water supplies and food which was inadequate in quantity and quality. These dangers have now been contained (though not abolished) and the major threats to public health are posed by a different set of diseases which are fostered by another set of environmental hazards.
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