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Developed countries should be the focus for effectively reducing chronic disease
  1. Eric J Buenz
  1. Correspondence to:
 MrE J Buenz
 Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; buenz.eric{at}

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The Millennium Development Goals were created to provide both assistance and a roadmap for less developed countries. Recently, the World Health Organisation proposed an additional effort to reduce the burden of chronic disease by 2%; particularly in less developed countries. However, this new effort is directly at odds with the Millennium Development Goals. This disparity, along with the projection that populations in developed countries will incur the greatest increase in chronic diseases, suggests that the more developed countries should be the focus of the proposed effort to reduced chronic disease.

Recently the Millennium Development Goals have been criticised for lack of foresight and proper metrics to evaluate their effectiveness.1,2 Now an additional roadmap to reduce the global burden of chronic disease by 2% is proposed.3 Superficially, the proposed roadmap is reasonable. It would seem that, generally, people would like to increase their quality of life through the reduction of habits that contribute to chronic disease. However, that attitude is not the case throughout the world. For example, Independent Samoa is one of the United Nations least developed countries4 and two thirds of the population exists by subsistence agriculture.5 Thus, it is not surprising that …

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  • Funding: this work was funded by the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

  • Competing interests: none.