Gary Sacks

Gary Sacks
Deakin University · WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention

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225
Publications
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Publications

Publications (225)
Article
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Current supermarket price promotions are likely to encourage unhealthy diets, leading some governments to recently endorse restrictions on price promotions for unhealthy food and beverages. However, little is known about the likely industry response to policy action in this area. The aim of this study was to understand how potential government poli...
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Introduction: Most people in Australia buy most of their food in supermarkets. Marketing techniques promoting healthy foods in supermarkets can be important to encourage healthy eating at a population level. Shelf tags that highlight the healthiness of products have been identified as one such promising initiative. The aim of this study was to ass...
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Objectives: Food companies could play an important role in improving population diets, but often escape accountability through unspecific commitments. This study evaluated nutrition-related commitments and estimated performance of the largest packaged food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, supermarkets and quick-service restaurants (QSR) in...
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There is widespread agreement among experts that a fundamental reorientation of global, regional, national and local food systems is needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals Agenda and address the linked challenges of undernutrition, obesity and climate change described as the Global Syndemic. Recognising the urgency of this imperativ...
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Background: Food marketing increases product appeal, purchasing and consumption, using diverse strategies and locations to reach consumers. Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine differences in adults' self-reported exposure to various marketing strategies (brand and licensed characters, celebrities, sponsorship of sports and cultural...
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Background: Food environments play a key role in dietary behavior and vary due to different contexts, regulations, and policies. Objectives: This study aimed to characterize the perceived availability of healthy and unhealthy foods in three different settings in 5 countries. Methods: We analyzed data from the 2018 International Food Policy Stu...
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Background: Diets that reduce reliance on animal-source foods are recommended in some contexts. Objectives: This study aimed to compare proportions of respondents who reported following meat-reduced dietary practices (i.e., vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian diets) and/or making efforts to reduce animal-source foods, and to examine sociodemographi...
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The supermarket environment impacts the healthiness of food purchased and consumed. Shelf tags that alert customers to healthier packaged products can improve the healthiness of overall purchases. This study assessed the potential value-for-money of implementing a three-year shelf tag intervention across all major supermarket chains in Australia. C...
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Alcoholic beverages sold in Australia are largely exempt from requirements to display nutrition information on packages, unlike other food and beverages. However, alcoholic beverage manufacturers can provide nutrition-related information voluntarily. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of nutrition-related information on packaged alcohol...
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Globally, the factors influencing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption have been extensively studied in many countries. However, there is no research investigating these factors at the population level. This study analyzed the major factors influencing taxed SSB consumption in Thailand. The Thai SSB tax applies to energy drinks (ED), carbonat...
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Background The public health benefits of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes often rely on, among other things, changes to consumer purchases. Thus, perceived cost of SSBs and signalling effects—via awareness of the tax—may impact the effectiveness of SSB taxes on consumer purchases. Objective The study sought to examine perceived cost of SSBs, t...
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Background School-based meal programs may promote healthy dietary intake among youth. However, limited data exist regarding the impact of income-targeted school meal programs across countries, particularly among food insecure youth. Objectives To examine self-reported awareness of and participation in free school meal programs, and associations wi...
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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of daily life, including dietary intake; however, few studies have reported its impacts on dietary behaviours and food security across multiple countries. Objectives: We examined self-reported impacts of COVID-19 on food behaviours, food security, and overall diet healthfulness in five...
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An unhealthy diet is among the leading global causes of death and disability. Globally, a range of policies are being implemented to support healthy food choices at a population level, including novel polices in the areas of food marketing, nutrition labelling, and taxation of less healthy foods. There is a need to evaluate and inform the implement...
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Background: Foods prepared outside the home (e.g., fast-food chains, restaurants) represent increasing proportions of diets worldwide, and have been associated with higher energy intake and body mass index (BMI). To improve the healthiness of population diets, it is important to understand patterns of consumption of these foods, and whether relate...
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Purpose of Review The aim of this paper is to summarise current trends and new developments with regard to institutional investor actions related to nutrition and obesity prevention. Recent Findings Investor-related activity related to improving population diets is building, with several recent initiatives aiming to accelerate achievement of globa...
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Objective: This study aimed to assess the potential financial impacts on Australian television networks of a ban on alcohol advertising during sports broadcasts. Methods: We analysed television advertising data from Nielsen, a commercial market research company. The data included details of all advertisements (ads) for the 10 highest-spending al...
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The health and ecological harms created and spread by firms active in many unhealthy commodity industries (UCIs) have received considerable attention from the public health community. However, less focus has been paid to analysing the distribution of wealth and income – important social and economic determinants of health – by these industries. Thi...
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Background Many of the harms created by the global soft drink industry that directly influence human and planetary health are well documented. However, some of the ways in which the industry indirectly affects population health, via various socio-economic pathways, have received less attention. This paper aimed to analyse the extent to which market...
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Implementation of effective cross-sectoral nutrition policies remains a challenge worldwide. By reviewing reports from World Health Organization meetings and consultations - convened for policy-makers representing Member States of the Western Pacific Region - we provide an insight into how national policy-makers and external actors can support diff...
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Purpose of Review This paper aimed to summarise existing literature on strategies to improve the healthiness of retail food environments in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region, and propose a prioritised research agenda on this topic. Recent Findings Little research on retail food environments has been conducted in the EAP region. Several approac...
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Globally, there is increasing interest in monitoring actions to create healthy, equitable and environmentally sustainable food environments. Currently, there is a lack of detailed tools for monitoring and benchmarking university food environments. This study aimed to develop the University Food Environment Assessment (Uni-Food) tool and process to...
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Objective Front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labeling is a globally-recommended strategy to encourage healthier food choices. We evaluated the effect of FOP labels on the perceived healthfulness of a sweetened fruit drink in an international sample of adult consumers. Design Six-arm randomized controlled experiment to examine the impact of FOP labels (...
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Objective Despite broad agreement on the need for comprehensive policy action to improve the healthiness of food environments, implementation of recommended policies has been slow and fragmented. Benchmarking is increasingly being used to strengthen accountability for action. However, there have been few evaluations of benchmarking and accountabili...
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Introduction Manufacturers, such as producers of cigarettes, drugs or ultra-processed foods, influence health policy, research and practice. This influence is one of the main barriers against the implementation of public health policies around the world. Our goal was to identify existing mechanisms to limit this influence. Methods We conducted a s...
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Purpose of Review Interest in taxes on unhealthy foods and beverages as a public health tool has increased in recent years. This paper aimed to summarise recent evidence of the impact of taxes on unhealthy foods and beverages on food purchases, and discuss opportunities to advance knowledge and policy impact. Recent Findings Evaluations of taxes o...
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Objective To assess the price promotions offered by major quick service restaurant (QSR) chains in Australia from an obesity prevention perspective. Design Cross-sectional audit of ten of the largest QSR chains in Australia. We collected information regarding temporary price promotions and ‘combination deals’ offered by each chain over thirteen co...
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Background: Food retail environments have an influential role in shaping purchasing behavior and could contribute to improving dietary patterns at a population level. However, little is known about the level of public support for different types of initiatives to encourage healthy food choices in supermarkets, and whether this varies across countr...
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This study investigated the policy processes related to the 2012 adoption of the Jamie’s Ministry of Food programme by the Victorian Government in Australia. The aim was to provide insight into obesity prevention policy change processes to help strengthen future health promotion action. State-level government policy processes were examined through...
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Background Nutrition-related chronic diseases are the major cause of illness and death in Pacific Island countries. Imports of sweetened beverages (SBs) are likely to be contributing but there is limited analysis of the quantities imported or the source countries of such beverages. The purpose of this study was to describe trends in the amount and...
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Background: Food environments are influenced by food industries (packaged food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers; supermarkets and quick service restaurants). An important source of this influence is the significant market power held by a limited number of food companies. Market structure analysis, as part of a broader market power research...
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Objective To examine awareness and recall of healthy eating public education campaigns in five countries. Design Data were cross-sectional and collected as part of the 2018 International Food Policy Study. Respondents were asked whether they had seen government healthy eating campaigns in the past year; if yes (awareness), they were asked to descr...
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Fiscal tools are recommended as a part of a comprehensive approach to diet-related disease prevention, however, widespread adoption has been hampered by political and economic resistance. The aim of this study was to support an advocacy coalition in the Solomon Islands with evidence-based consideration of the development and implementation of a tax...
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Background The detrimental impact of dominant corporations active in health-harming commodity industries is well recognised. However, to date, existing analyses of the ways in which corporations influence health have paid limited attention to corporate market power. Accordingly, the public health implications of concentrated market structures, the...
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Background Successful implementation and long-term maintenance of healthy supermarkets initiatives are crucial to achieving potential population health benefits. Understanding barriers and enablers of implementation of real-world trials will enhance wide-scale implementation. This process evaluation of a healthy supermarket intervention sought to d...
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Background: There is increasing recognition that power imbalances that favour corporations, especially those active in unhealthy commodity industries, over other actors are central to the ways in which corporations influence population health. However, existing frameworks for analysing corporate strategies and practices that impact on health do no...
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Background Despite global recommendations to prioritise policies that create healthy food environments within education institutions, the implementation of effective healthy school food policies has proved challenging for many countries. This study examined the experience of Samoa subsequent to the 2012 introduction of a stronger policy to improve...
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Background The public health community has become increasingly critical of the role that powerful corporations play in driving unhealthy diets, one of the leading contributors to the global burden of disease. While a substantial amount of work has examined the political strategies used by dominant processed food manufacturers that undermine public...
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Introduction Despite global recommendations for governments to implement a comprehensive suite of policies to address obesity, policy adoption has been deficient globally. This paper utilised political science theory and systems thinking methods to examine the dynamics underlying decisions regarding obesity prevention policy adoption within the con...
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Diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity are the leading contributors to poor health worldwide. Efforts to improve population diets need to focus on creating healthy food environments. INFORMAS, established in 2012, is an international network that monitors and benchmarks food environments and related policies. By 2020, INFORMAS was...
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Introduction Responsible investment (RI), in which environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are incorporated into investment decision making, is a potentially powerful tool for increasing corporate accountability and improving corporate practices to address broad societal challenges. Whilst the RI sector is growing, there is limite...
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Objective: To undertake a census of the healthfulness of food venues providing lunch or dinner meals in a rural Australian setting and compare healthfulness by remoteness, using two measurement tools. Methods: A census of the rural local government area food venues was undertaken using two validated tools: the Healthfulness Rating Classification Sy...
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Introduction There is emerging evidence that food industry involvement in nutrition research may bias research findings and/or research agendas. However, the extent of food industry involvement in nutrition research has not been systematically explored. This study aimed to identify the extent of food industry involvement in peer-reviewed articles f...
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There is currently limited direct evidence of how sponsorship of scientific conferences fits within the food industry’s strategy to shape public policy and opinion in its favour. This paper provides an analysis of emails between a vice-president of The Coca-Cola Company (Coke) and prominent public health figures in relation to the 2012 and 2014 Int...
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Supermarket environments can strongly influence purchasing decisions. Price promotions are recognised as a particularly persuasive tactic, but the healthiness of price promotions in prominent in-store locations is understudied. This study compared the prevalence and magnitude of price promotions on healthy and unhealthy food and beverages (foods) d...
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Background Despite considerable public health interest in sugary drink consumption, there has been little comparison of intake across countries. Objectives This study aimed to compare the consumption frequency and amounts of commonly consumed beverages among adults in 5 upper-middle- and high-income countries, and examine differences in consumptio...
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Background: Nutrition policies to improve the food environment frequently rely on voluntary business action for implementation, many have had mixed success. The aims of this study were to identify key food system drivers influencing the Australian packaged food sector and analyse how these might impact the willingness of food companies to voluntar...
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Background: Canada's food supply is high in nutrients of public health concern, contributing to poor diet quality and increased noncommunicable disease risk. Food companies shape the healthfulness of the food supply, yet little is known about companies' voluntary actions and commitments concerning product (re)formulation. Objective: This study a...
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Background: The potential role of the food and beverage industry in addressing diet-related disease is much debated, particularly amidst evidence of the targeted strategies, including voluntary self-regulation, used by the industry to influence policy in their favour. At the same time, the need for more comprehensive action to address unhealthy di...
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Objective The current study aimed to investigate availability and placement of healthy and discretionary (less healthy) food in supermarkets in Victoria, Australia, and examine variation by supermarket chain and area-level socio-economic disadvantage. Design Cross-sectional supermarket audit. Measures included: (i) proportion of shelf space (in sq...
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Objective To quantify sales trends for key energy-dense, nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods and beverages over 5 years in Australia. Design The Euromonitor Global Market Information Database and linear regression models were used to estimate average annual change in sales per capita of thirteen EDNP food categories and two EDNP beverage categories (define...
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The food industry has an important role to play in efforts to improve population diets. This study aimed to benchmark the comprehensiveness, specificity and transparency of nutrition-related policies and commitments of major food companies in Australia. In 2018, we applied the Business Impact Assessment on Obesity and Population Level Nutrition (BI...
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Objectives To identify the corporate political activity (CPA) of food industry actors in South Africa.Methods We studied the CPA of ten different food actors for the period Jan 2018–April 2019. We used a systematic approach and existing framework to collect and analyse information available in the public domain, including material from the industry...
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Online food delivery services like Just Eat and Grubhub facilitate online ordering and home delivery of food prepared away-from-home. It is poorly understood how these services are used and by whom. This study investigated the prevalence of online food delivery service use and sociodemographic characteristics of customers, in and across Australia,...
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Objective We identified mechanisms for addressing and/or managing the influence of corporations on public health policy, research and practice, as well as examples of where these mechanisms have been adopted from across the globe. Design We conducted a scoping review. We conducted searches in five databases on 4 June 2019. Twenty-eight relevant in...
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Background: Institutions are a recommended setting for dietary interventions and nutrition policies as these provide an opportunity to improve health by creating healthy food environments. In Australia, state and territory governments encourage or mandate institutions in their jurisdiction to adopt nutrition policies. However, no work has analysed...
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The aim of the ACE-Obesity Policy study was to assess the economic credentials of a suite of obesity prevention policies across multiple sectors and areas of governance for the Australian setting. The study aimed to place the cost-effectiveness results within a broad decision-making context by providing an assessment of the key considerations for p...
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There have been global calls to action to protect children (aged <18) from exposure to the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages (‘unhealthy foods’). In this context, the rising popularity of social media, particularly amongst adolescents, represents an important focus area. This study aimed to examine the advertising policies of major global...
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Purpose of review: To review existing frameworks for assessing the evidence of effectiveness of obesity prevention interventions, and discuss the application of a custom-developed evidence framework to inform an obesity prevention priority-setting study in Australia. Recent findings: There are a wide range of frameworks for grading evidence. How...
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Background At a country level, population obesity prevalence is often associated with economic affluence, reflecting a potential adverse outcome concomitant with economic growth. We estimated the pattern and strength of the empirically observed relationship between national income and adult obesity prevalence, and the moderating role of countries’...