Looking Back On 10 Years In Health

05/07/2015 07:00 am ET | Updated Aug 27, 2015

The Huffington Post turns 10 this week, and in honor of our anniversary, we're celebrating advancements in public and private health over the past decade. And we're focusing on some of the ways our world looks different, thanks to the changes to our health.

In health care policy, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which insured 10 million people who didn't have health insurance, is certainly the most memorable addition of the past decade. Other noteworthy legislation includes indoor smoking bans, which started in California in the 1990s but spread across the country in the mid-aughts. Today, even clean outdoor air is considered a right in public parks and on beaches.

On the medical front, advances in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery have reduced hospitals stays and mean less scarring and and less trauma for patients. Bionic limb technology has changed amputees' lives by replacing cumbersome prosthetics with sophisticated robotic limbs using microchips that mimic human reflexes. Medicinal marijuana also gained a foothold after decades of anti-drug sentiment, with states across the country legalizing medicinal cannabis. Research into the plant's potential benefits is currently underway.

Our ability to understand our own fitness and exercise habits has increased exponentially with the advent of wearable technologies. Diets -- from South Beach to the Master Cleanse to the Zone to Macrobiotic to Paleo -- came and went. The best diet advice is still the same as it was 10 years ago: don't diet. (Instead, do as Michael Pollen does and "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.") Health food advertisements have changed with the times. While the "Got Milk?" campaign reigned in 2005, today's trendiest superfood is the avocado, which even had its own Super Bowl commercial this year.

Health shifts have even happened in the corporate world. The 2008 financial crisis prompted many workers to reevaluate the all-consuming roles of money and power in their lives. Today, many companies are finding ways to incorporate employee wellness into the workplace, including in-office yoga and meditation classes, which studies show improve brain function and reduce anxiety.

Here's a peek at what health looked like 10 years ago compared to today.

Then: Going to a bar meant even nonsmokers got secondhand exposure


(Photo credit, left: AP Photo/Chris Curry) (Photo credit, right: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Now: Widespread bans prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants

Then: Federal authorities could seize medicinal marijuana and prosecute doctors for prescribing it


(Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Photo credit: Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images)

Now: 23 states (and counting!) have legalized medical cannabis

Then: Cutthroat Wall Street culture emphasized money and power


(Photo credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew) (Photo credit: Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post)

Now: Workplace yoga and meditation programs have replaced the three-martini lunch

Then: Recording a workout involved a start and stop button

(Photo credit: Wodicka/ullstein bild/Getty Images) (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Now: Wearable fitness trackers can record steps, sleep quality and calorie intake

Then: Low-tech prosthetics were heavy and painful

(Photo credit: Getty Images) (Photo credit: Mary Turner/Getty Images)

Now: Bionic limbs allow wearers to walk naturally by mimicking human motion

Then: "Got Milk?" was the health food campaign plastered in every magazine

(Photo credit: (Photo credit: YouTube)

Now: 2015's health food darling, the avocado, scores a Super Bowl commercial

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