Phillip Baker

Phillip Baker
Deakin University · Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition

BSc, PGDipHSc, MHSc, PhD
https://twitter.com/PhilBakerNZ

About

93
Publications
63,933
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Introduction
I'm a Senior Lecturer at Deakin University, in Melbourne, Australia. My research focuses on understanding global food systems change and the implications for human and planetary health. Recent work covers the global rise of ultra-processed foods, the commercial determinants of nutrition, and global changes in infant and young child feeding. I teach high-enrolling units on food policy and regulation, and international nutrition, and supervise PhD students on related topics. Twitter: @PhilBakerNZ
Additional affiliations
March 2017 - present
Deakin University
Position
  • Fellow
October 2015 - February 2017
Australian National University
Position
  • Research Fellow
July 2015 - October 2015
Australian National University
Position
  • Research Associate
Education
March 2009 - May 2013
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Population Health
February 2006 - November 2006
University of Auckland
Field of study
  • Nutrition
February 2005 - November 2005
University of Auckland
Field of study
  • Population Health

Publications

Publications (93)
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Generating country-level political commitment will be critical to driving forward action throughout the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016–2025). In this review of the empirical nutrition policy literature, we ask: what factors generate, sustain and constrain political commitment for nutrition, how and under what circum...
Article
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The nutrition literature and authoritative reports increasingly recognise the concept of ultra-processed foods (UPF), as a descriptor of unhealthy diets. UPFs are now prevalent in diets worldwide. This review aims to identify and appraise the studies on healthy participants that investigated associations between levels of UPF consumption and health...
Article
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Understanding the drivers and dynamics of global ultra‐processed food (UPF) consumption is essential, given the evidence linking these foods with adverse health outcomes. In this synthesis review, we take two steps. First, we quantify per capita volumes and trends in UPF sales, and ingredients (sweeteners, fats, sodium and cosmetic additives) suppl...
Article
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The inappropriate marketing and aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) undermines breastfeeding and harms child and maternal health in all country contexts. Although a global milk formula 'sales boom' is reportedly underway, few studies have investigated its dynamics and determinants. This study takes two steps. First, it describes tr...
Article
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Background The global milk formula market has ‘boomed’ in recent decades, raising serious concerns for breastfeeding, and child and maternal health. Despite these developments, few studies have investigated the global expansion of the baby food industry, nor the market and political practices corporations have used to grow and sustain their markets...
Article
Objective: To report on the prevalence of different types of breast-milk substitutes (BMS) marketing and the compliance of such marketing with the "Control of Marketing of Infant and Young Child Food Act 2017" (The Act) and the "International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (WHO Code)" in Thailand. Design: Cross-sectional quantitativ...
Article
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Purpose To investigate intake levels of nutrients linked to non-communicable diseases in Australia using the novel combination of food processing and nutrient profiling metrics of the PAHO Nutrient Profile Model. Methods Dietary intakes of 12,153 participants from the Australian Health Survey (2011–12) aged 2 + years were evaluated. Food items rep...
Article
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Today's food systems are driving several intersecting public health and ecological crises of global concern. Acknowledging this, numerous major reports have made wide-ranging recommendations for achieving ‘transformative’ food systems change. However, no studies have yet analysed the transformative potential of these recommendations. Here we undert...
Article
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Objective This study aimed to critically analyse Australia’s current and proposed policy actions to reduce added sugar consumption. Over-consumption of added sugar is a significant public health nutrition issue. The competing interests, values and beliefs among stakeholders means they have disparate views regarding which policy actions are preferab...
Article
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Background Recent studies show corporate political activity (CPA) can have detrimental impacts on health policy processes. The Control of Marketing Promotion of Infant and Young Child Food Act B.E. 2560 (the Act) was implemented in Thailand in 2017, but there have been no studies documenting CPA during its policy processes. Furthermore, the effects...
Article
Background: Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes are an effective public health policy intervention for improving nutrition and public health. Although implemented in over 50 jurisdictions worldwide, this intervention remains vastly underutilised, and in Australia political commitment for such a tax is low. The aim of this study is to understand th...
Article
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Food systems are increasingly being understood as driving various health and ecological crises and their transformation is recognised as a key opportunity for planetary health. First-food systems represent an underexplored aspect of this transformation. Despite breastfeeding representing the optimal source of infant nutrition, use of commercial mil...
Article
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Background Public health concerns relating to international investment liberalization have centred on the potential for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)-related regulatory chill. However, the broader political and economic dimensions that shape the relationship between the international investment regime and non-communicable disease (NCD) p...
Article
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Background: Breastfeeding is important for the health and development of the child, and for maternal health, in all country contexts. However, global sales of breast-milk substitutes (BMS), including infant, follow-up and toddler formulas, have ‘boomed’ in recent decades. This raises the importance of international food standards established by the...
Article
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Commercial milk formula for pregnant women (CMF-PW) is an expensive, ultra-processed food with a high concentration of sugar, the consumption of which may be linked to negative health outcomes. However, CMF-PWs are promoted as beneficial for pregnant women and lactating mothers as well as their children. To date, little is known about the factors a...
Article
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Today’s food systems are contributing to multiple intersecting health and ecological crises. Many are now calling for transformative, or even radical, food systems change. Our starting assumption in this Special Issue is the broad claim that the transformative changes being called for in a global food system in crisis cannot – and ultimately will n...
Article
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Background The aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) reduces breastfeeding, and harms child and maternal health globally. Yet forty years after the World Health Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (The Code), many countries are still to fully implement its provisions into national law. Furt...
Article
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Objective Diets high in red and processed meat (RPM) contribute substantially to environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, and the global burden of chronic disease. High-profile reports have called for significant global RPM reduction, especially in high-income settings. Despite this, policy attention and political priority for the issue...
Article
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Background: International food standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), have become more prominent in international trade politics, since being referenced by various World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. We examine how this impacts implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast...
Article
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Background Previous analyses of trends in feeding indicators of children younger than 2 years have been limited to low-income and middle-income countries. We aimed to assess time trends in the consumption of different types of milk (breastmilk, formula, and animal milk) by children younger than 2 years from 2000 to 2019 at a global level. Methods...
Article
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Background: Ultra-processed food (UPF) and Ultra-processed beverage (UPB) consumption is associated with higher risks of numerous non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Yet global consumption of these products is rising due to profound changes in production, processing, manufacturing, marketing, retail, and consumption practices, alongside the growth of...
Article
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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...
Article
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Dietary risk factors, including excess added sugar intake, are leading contributors to Australia’s burden of disease. An objective of the Australian Health Star Rating (HSR) system is to encourage the reformulation of packaged foods. Manufacturers may improve a product’s HSR by replacing added sugar with non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS). Concerns hav...
Article
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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...
Article
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Background In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), low levels of formal maternal educational are positively associated with breastfeeding whereas the reverse is true among women with higher levels of formal education. As such, breastfeeding has helped to reduce health equity gaps between rich and poor children. Our paper examines trends in bre...
Article
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Transnational tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed food corporations use the international trade regime to prevent policy action on non-communicable diseases (NCDs); i.e. to promote policy ‘non-decisions’. Understanding policy non-decisions can be assisted by identifying power operating in relevant decision-making spaces, but trade and health resea...
Article
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Background: Diets high in red and processed meat (RPM) contribute substantially to environmental degradation, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the global burden of chronic disease. Recent high-profile reports from international expert bodies have called for a significant reduction in global dietary meat intake, particularly RPM, especially in h...
Article
Poor diets, including excess added sugar consumption, contribute to the global burden of disease. Subsequently, many nutrition policies have been implemented to reduce added sugar intake and improve population health, including taxes, education, labelling and environmental interventions. A potential consequence of these policy actions is the substi...
Article
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Objective To investigate the prevalence and socio-economic inequalities in breast milk, breast milk substitutes (BMS) and other non-human milk consumption, by children under 2 years in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Design We analysed the prevalence of continued breast-feeding at 1 and 2 years and frequency of formula and other non-human...
Article
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Objective: A comprehensive nutrition policy containing a broad package of cross-sector and synergistic policy actions is required to attenuate the systemic drivers of poor nutrition. The current study aims to critically analyse trends in the scope of federal nutrition policy actions in Australia between 2007 and 2018 by: (1) describing the changes...
Article
Effective government policies are crucial to creating healthy food environments. However, changing public policy is a slow and challenging process involving many competing factors. One cited factor is public opinion towards a proposed policy. This study aimed to systematically explore public opinion on regulatory nutrition policy issues in Australi...
Preprint
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Background Consumption of breast milk substitutes (BMS) by children aged under six months in low and middle income countries (LMICs) is directly driven by country income and family wealth. Multi-country investigations on the consumption of BMS by older children (6-23 months) are lacking. Methods Using data from 86 nationally representative surveys...
Article
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Nutrient-based indices are commonly used to assess the health potential of individual foods for nutrition policy actions. This study aimed to evaluate the nutrient profile-informed Australian Health Star Rating (HSR), against NOVA and an index informed by the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADGs), to determine the extent of alignment. All products d...
Article
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Objective Junk-food marketing contributes significantly to childhood obesity, which in turn imposes major health and economic burdens. Despite this, political priority for addressing junk-food marketing has been weak in many countries. Competing interests, worldviews and beliefs of stakeholders involved with the issue contribute to this political i...
Article
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Background: In contrast with the ample literature on within- and between-country inequalities in breastfeeding practices, there are no multi-country analyses of socioeconomic disparities in breastmilk substitute (BMS) consumption in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Objective: This study aimed to investigate between- and within-country s...
Article
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How do public health advocates and practitioners encourage policy actors to address the social determinants of health? What strategies can be used to elevate healthy social policies onto government agendas? In this paper, we examine the case of Australia's first national paid parental leave scheme, announced in 2009 after decades of policy advocacy...
Article
Objective To explore the formal and informal ways in which different actors involved in shaping trade agreements pursue their interests and understand the interactions with nutrition, in order to improve coherence between trade and nutrition policy goals. Design The paper draws on empirical evidence from Australian key informant interviews that ex...
Article
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Sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets: the transformation agenda - Volume 22 Issue 16 - Mark Andrew Lawrence, Phillip Ian Baker, Claire Elizabeth Pulker, Christina Mary Pollard
Article
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Background: The role of processed foods in nutrition transition in the Pacific is receiving some attention in the context of a significant obesity and diet-related noncommunicable disease health burden. However, trends, patterns and underlying drivers of processed food markets in the Pacific are not well understood. The aim of this study was to in...
Article
Food security, food safety, and healthy nutrition are key aspects of food systems with important implications for population health. Food safety addresses food-borne illness, and covers the handling, preparation and storage of food. Healthy nutrition is about the nutritional quality of diets. Food security encompasses both food safety and healthy n...
Article
Objective Maximising synergies and minimising conflicts (i.e. building policy coherence) between trade and nutrition policy is an important objective. One understudied driver of policy coherence is the alignment in the frames, discourses and values of actors involved in the respective sectors. In the present analysis, we aim to understand how such...
Article
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Public health nutrition (PHN) seeks to protect and promote the nutrition-related health and wellbeing of populations. PHN science is dynamic and has evolved over time, helping to inform our understanding of the changing nature, scope, causes and solutions to PHN problems. This scientific basis has informed nutrition guidance and policy. Using a nar...
Article
Executive summary Malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, undernutrition, and other dietary risks, is the leading cause of poor health globally. In the near future, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these health challenges. Climate change can be considered a pandemic because of its sweeping effects on the he...
Chapter
This book takes a transdisciplinary approach and considers multisectoral actions, integrating health, agriculture, environment, economy, and socio-cultural issues, to comprehensively explore the topic of sustainable diets. Consideration is given to the multi-dimensional nature of diets and food systems, and the book explores the challenging issues...
Article
Introduction by Croakey: An investigation published last week by the British Medical Journal has found that infant formula manufacturers have been funding the development of guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of cows’ milk allergy as well as providing research and consultancy funds to those who wrote them. That comes, it reports, amid a si...
Article
Images accompanying articles on obesity in the media may contribute to a stigmatizing narrative of personal blame for the condition. We report a pilot study of online newspapers in 15 countries to determine the use of positive and negative imagery used to accompany articles on obesity. We undertook a visual content analysis of images accompanying a...
Article
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Background: Despite decades of evidence gathering and calls for action, few countries have systematically attenuated health inequities (HI) through action on the social determinants of health (SDH). This is at least partly because doing so presents a significant political and policy challenge. This paper explores this challenge through a review of...
Article
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In their recent article Roache and Gostin outline why governments and public health advocates should embrace soda taxes. The evidence is strong and continues to grow: such taxes can change consumer behavior, generate significant revenue and incentivize product reformulation. In essence, such taxes are an important and now well-established instrumen...
Conference Paper
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When we hear the word “obesity”, the words “crisis” or “epidemic” often follow. And as being overweight, obese and eating an unhealthy diet are leading contributors to disease in Australia, evidence is mounting that “tackling obesity” should be a political priority. But obesity is a tough political challenge. Some have referred to it as “a test ca...
Article
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Effective obesity prevention requires a synergistic mix of population-level interventions including a strong role for government and the regulation of the marketing, labelling, content and pricing of energy-dense foods and beverages. In this paper we adopt the agenda of the Australian Federal Government (AFG) as a case study to understand the facto...
Article
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Background Attracted by their high economic growth rates, young and growing populations, and increasingly open markets, transnational food and beverage corporations (TFBCs) are targeting Asian markets with vigour. Simultaneously the consumption of ultra-processed foods high in fat, salt and glycaemic load is increasing in the region. Evidence demon...
Presentation
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To view this presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Pw1m7EuAQ. Australians are getting fatter. What influences our food choices? How does our food system support or undermine our health? And what can we do about it? In this informative and engaging talk, Dr Phillip Baker examines some of the less obvious influences on what we eat and why,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the aftermath of World Breastfeeding Week, leading academics in infant nutrition from the Australian National University, Julie Smith, Libby Salmon and Phillip Baker, examine the challenges that remain in keeping breastfeeding on the global agenda.