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Pediatricians and other physicians who provide care to children have the obligation to promote the well-being and health of infants, children and adolescents, which includes the need to intervene when these are threatened. Although most children in this country enjoy good health, medical as well as social problems can have adverse impacts on a child's well-being. Children in low-income or dysfunctional families have a higher incidence of disease and have less access to health supervision and preventive services and to acute illness care than their more affluent counterparts. Pediatricians, in particular, have assumed many different advocacy roles: They frequently serve as advocates for individual children and families and function as consultants to schools and health care agencies. Their efforts at legislative change have resulted in regulations that have developed of immunization programs, improved car safety, reduced the incidence of toxic ingestions and enhanced the funding of health care for children. Internationally, pediatricians have been active in a broad range of issues. Students must recognize their obligations, as future physicians, to be advocates for their patients and families.