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of this is the iodine content of soil and the occurrence of iodine deficiency disorder (IDD).

Hippocrates could not have known all this, but he observed the consequences of such conditions

and clearly pointed towards the environment as the underlying reason for certain diseases. One

of the most astonishing foresights of the Hippocrates era is the suggested relationship between

people’s behaviour and illness and health. Who in our times cannot recognise the importance of

this statement, when thinking about chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and type

2 diabetes …. ‘

and the mode in which the inhabitants live, and what are their pursuits,

whether they are fond of drinking and eating to excess, and given to indolence, or are fond of

exercise and labor, and not given to excess in eating and drinking.’

Returning to the title of this article! There is no doubt, that curative medicine can claim

Hippocrates as the father of medicine, but this is also especially true for public health. In fact,

important aspects of the teaching of Hippocrates are still very modern, which is an observation

that cannot always be made regarding his statements about curative medicine.

*Born ca. 460 BC at Kos Island, Ancient Greece; died ca. 370 BC, Larissa, Ancient Greece

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Reference List

(1) Fee E. Public health, past and present. In: Rosen R, editor. A history of public health. 2002

ed. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins Universtity Press; 1993. p. 39.

(2) Morman ET. George Rosen, public health and history. In: Rosen R, editor. A history of

public health. 2002 ed. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1993.

p. 119-38.

(3) Multiple. Hippocrates. Wikipedia 2013 [cited 2013 Nov 6]; Available from: URL:

(4) Adams F. On airs, waters, and places. The Internet Classics Archive 2013 [cited 2013 Nov

6];Available from: URL:

Picture of Hippocrates derived from