Children in the United States increasingly are at risk for health problems that are precipitated or exacerbated by social, community, and environmental factors. Currently, pediatricians are unable to sufficiently address these health conditions without expanding their roles beyond that of providing health care to individual patients. Thus, to improve child health, physicians must work within their communities to identify the needs of the population they serve and take appropriate action to influence the private and public policies that address these needs. Healthy People 2010 establishes a well-supported framework that confronts the social and community factors that affect children's health and serves as a resource for community-minded pediatricians. In addition to Healthy People 2010, other successful initiatives have been created by pediatricians, and they must be expanded if the pediatric community is to alleviate the social, community, and environmental factors that negatively affect child health.

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