How has the government prevented disease since the early 20th century?

Last updated: 15/11/2023
Contributor: Harriet Rix
How has the government prevented disease since the early 20th century?
Main Subject
Key stage
Thematic studies: Health/medicine
Resource type
Student activity

An engaging way of teaching years 9–11 about government campaigns to prevent disease in the 20th century.

Students watch video clips of three public health campaigns aimed at influencing people's lifestyle choices: 'Change 4 Life', 'No Alcohol During Pregnancy is the Safest Choice' and 'Stoptober'. They then have the opportunity to create their own campaign to prevent diphtheria, based on what they have learned about this disease during the course. There is also a gap-fill task to review the keywords associated with the prevention of disease through government action. Answers are provided for the gapped text.

The lesson can be used to help prepare students for any thematic study on health or medicine, including Edexcel's 'Medicine in Britain, c.1250–present', AQA's 'Britain: Health and the people: c.1000 to the present day' and OCR's 'The People's Health, c.1250 to present'.

An extract from the answers to the gapped text:

Once the causes of diseases and health problems were understood, methods of prevention could be developed. These have included:

  • Compulsory vaccination: inspired by the positive impact of this type of medicine, other campaigns were launched in the 20th century.
  • Passing laws to provide a better health environment: these included the Clean Air Acts and adding the chemical fluoride to the water supply to help prevent tooth decay.

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