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Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy

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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal


Volume 5: No. 3, July 2008

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Cover of the July  2008 issue

How would our world change if everyone practiced healthy behaviors? Imagining such a world is difficult because changes would affect not only the people of the world but also the social, economic, and institutional structures around the world. A global effort to eat healthfully, quit smoking, and maintain a healthy weight could drastically reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Chronic conditions such as these directly influence the ways people live and indirectly influence the way societies are organized. Small behavioral changes among individuals would ultimately change communities, cultures, and countries. The cumulative effect of individuals everywhere practicing healthy behaviors would transform our world.

This issue of Preventing Chronic Disease highlights healthy behaviors around the world, from American Samoa to Ethiopia. The mandala depicted on the cover, created using icons of healthy behaviors, reflects the synergistic nature of health. A mandala is a geometric pattern used to represent the universe that originated with Tibetan monks and has been used in many religious traditions and as a healing tool in various cultures (1). The mandala is thought to aid in the healing of society (2), and, loosely translated, the Sanskrit word mandala means “world in harmony” (3). Just as each piece of the mandala is an integral part of the larger pattern, the health of each individual affects our world. Similarly, change in society affects behaviors of individuals, and the mandala illustrates this two-way relationship. The collective adoption of healthy habits by people everywhere has the power to make our world a harmonious one.


  1. The Mandala Project. What is a mandala? Seattle (WA): The Mandala Project; 2006 [accessed June 4, 2008].
  2. Mandala gallery [homepage on the Internet]. Maitland (FL): Mandala Gallery; 2007 [accessed June 4, 2008].
  3. Davis Museum and Cultural Center. Circles of healing, circles of peace: a Tibetan mandala project at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College [press release]. Wellesley (MA): Wellesley College; February 16, 2005.

Cover artist: Kristen Immoor
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The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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