Population health needs to pivot toward the primordial prevention of global chronic diseases, most specifically the disease cascade that runs from marketing to obesity to diabetes to its known complications. Medical sciences can now manage these diseases and prolong meaningful life, but can only do so at an enormous cost, a cost that will threaten societal stability everywhere. The fall in global fertility and the explosion in elderly populations will facilitate this fiscal pandemic attributable to good health. Risk factor mitigation, not effective for obesity, enhanced longevity but did not prevent chronic illness, only forestalled it. For public health, but not health practitioners, the risk factor era needs to be supplanted by a focus on public policy to alter public behavior via primordial prevention of the emergence of risk factors. And public health needs to lead that effort. The historical pathway to this present dilemma that linked science to economic development can be illuminated by the efforts of four scientists, Francis Bacon at the dawn of the seventeenth century, James Lind in the 18 and Vannevar Bush and Abdel Omran in the 20. This perspective introduces a near inevitability to the emergence of the current critical pivot point but also teaches that there is a powerful rationale to assume that dramatic and expensive changes will be coming and need be anticipated and planned for.
© 2022. The Author(s).