Can the Food Industry Play a Constructive Role in the Obesity Epidemic?

Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 11/2008; 300(15):1808-11. DOI: 10.1001/jama.300.15.1808
Source: PubMed
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    • "There is less agreement (and little comparative evidence) on the relative effectiveness of alternative public intervention strategies (Cecchini et al., 2010; Beaglehole et al., 2011; Brambila-Macias et al., 2011; Capacci et al., 2012). While there is broad support for policies aimed at protecting children (Evans et al., 2005), conflicting views are especially found for those policies that are regarded as more intrusive, such as taxes on unhealthy food and drinks (Jacobson and Brownell, 2000; Leicester and Windmeijer, 2004; Caraher and Cowburn, 2005; Brownell and Frieden, 2009), restrictions on advertising (Zywicki et al., 2004; Veerman et al., 2009), or the imposition of label requirements or nutrition standards on the food industry (Grunert and Wills, 2007; Lang and Rayner, 2007; Ludwig and Nestle, 2008; Variyam, 2008; Capacci et al., 2012) compared with less intrusive choices like informing consumers through social marketing (Grier and Bryant, 2005; Lang and Rayner, 2010), targeting school children through education measures or school meal standards (Story, 1999; Cawley, 2006), and especially public–private partnerships such as the UK Responsibility Deal (Crockett and Kennedy, 2002). Together with their health benefits, healthy eating policies involve explicit or implicit economic costs to the taxpayer. "
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    ABSTRACT: World Health Organization estimates that obesity accounts for 2-8% of health care costs in different parts of Europe, and highlights a key role for national policymaking in curbing the epidemic. A variety of healthy-eating policy instruments are available, ranging from more paternalistic policies to those less intrusive. Our aim is to measure and explain the level of public support for different types of healthy eating policy in Europe, based on data from a probabilistic sample of 3003 respondents in five European countries. We find that the main drivers of policy support are attitudinal factors, especially attribution of obesity to excessive availability of unhealthy foods, while socio-demographic characteristics and political preferences have little explanatory power. A high level of support for healthy eating policy does not translate into acceptance of higher taxes to fund them, however.
    Health Economics Policy and Law 07/2015; 10(3):267-292. DOI:10.1017/S1744133114000346 · 1.33 Impact Factor
    • "Different strategies and patterns of disclosure seem to underlie CSR initiatives of PA promotion in children from different industry sectors (Table 2). Pledges for PA promotion taken by corporates whose CSR commitments appear to be in contradiction with their core business (Ludwig and Nestle, 2008) and paralleled by the incoherent failure to sign key food pledges (Hashem et al., 2011) may reflect a common deflection strategy adopted previously by tobacco companies (World Health Organization, 2009b). It consists in focusing the attention of relevant publics on determinants of a public problem different from those to which the industry products may contribute (Dorfman et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The alarming epidemic of obesity and physical inactivity at paediatric age urges societies to rise to the challenge of ensuring an active lifestyle. As one response to this, business enterprises are increasingly engaged in promoting sport and physical activity (PA) initiatives within the frame of corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, comparative analyses among industry sectors of CSR strategies for PA promotion with a particular focus on children are still lacking. This study aimed to explore (i) what are the CSR strategies for PA promotion adopted in different industry sectors and (ii) whether corporate engagement in promoting PA for children is supportive of children’s rights to play and be physically active. Corporate pledges pertaining to CSR initiatives to promote PA were analysed. The hypothesis was that companies from different sectors employ different CSR strategies and that companies with a higher profile as regard to public health concerns for children tend to legitimate their action by adopting a compensatory strategy. Results show that the issue of PA promotion is largely represented within CSR commitments. CSR strategies for PA promotion vary across industry sectors and the adoption of a compensatory strategy for rising childhood obesity allows only a limited exploitation of the potential of CSR commitments for the provision of children’s rights to play and be physically active. Actors within the fields of public health ethics, human rights and CSR should be considered complementary to develop mainstreaming strategies and improve monitoring systems of PA promotion in children. Free access:
    Health Promotion International 06/2015; DOI:10.1093/heapro/dav051 · 1.94 Impact Factor
    • "This is true for debates around weaning foods as much as it is for debates about processed foods in general. There are environmental relationships also to be considered (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 2007); however, the major battle about food vs processed food is not pursued further here (Ludwig and Nestle, 2008; Monteiro and Cannon, 2012; Monteiro et al., 2010, 2011, 2013; Nestle, 2007a,b; Pollan, 2006a,b, 2010; Woolf and Nestle, 2008) though elements of this affect weight gain, obesity and all other major noncommunicable diseases (Mozaffarian et al., 2011; Mozaffarian, 2010; Willett, 2001, 2006). This side battle focuses the food only push vs those who focus on improving the quality of what is already purchased (Rayner et al., 2013; Roodenburg et al., 2011; Sacks et al., 2011; Wartella et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The entire food value chain and diet of low and middle income countries (LMICs) are rapidly shifting. Many of the issues addressed by the nutrition community ignore some of the major underlying shifts in purchases of consumer packaged foods and beverages. At the same time, the drivers of the food system at the farm level might be changing. There is a need for the agriculture and nutrition communities to understand these changes and focus on some of their implications for health. This rapid growth of the retail sector will change the diets of the food insecure as much as that of the food secure across rural and urban LMIC’s. This short commentary contents that current research, programs and policies are ignoring these rapid dynamic shifts.
    Food Policy 08/2014; 47:91–96. DOI:10.1016/j.foodpol.2014.05.001 · 1.80 Impact Factor
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