01/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

2008's Top 20 Health Heroes

The qualities that defined this magazine's first 20 years are embodied today by the 19 men (and one woman) you're about to meet.

From Barack Obama and Lance Armstrong to Tiger Woods and Ashley Judd, they are working to make the world healthier, through their actions and their inspiring stories. But they're not all big names: Included in this list are doctors operating on kids in Afghanistan, Boy Scouts handling an emergency with poise and selflessness, and an Ironman competitor who was told he'd never walk again.

Read their stories and use their advice to improve your life--and, hopefully, improve the life of those around you, or even in another country.