Response of the Food and Beverage Industry to the Obesity Threat

Emory University, Emory Global Health Institute, 1599 Clifton Rd NE, Ste 6.101, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 10/2010; 304(13):1487-8. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1436
Source: PubMed

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    • "For example, the food industry asserts that there is no 'bad' food but rather bad individual choices (Koplan and Brownell 2010). The success of this type of rhetoric is reflected in the willingness of normsetting organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments to partner with the food industry in health education and promotion campaigns (Koplan and Brownell 2010; Stuckler and Nestle 2012). The norms pertaining to tobacco and the tobacco industry are markedly different where many governments and prominent intergovernmental organizations such as the WHO and the World Bank explicitly prohibit partnerships with the tobacco industry. "
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    ABSTRACT: To address the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), governments are now being urged to 'put forward a multisectoral approach for health at all government levels, to address NCD risk factors and underlying determinants of health comprehensively and decisively' [UN, 2011. Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (No. A/66/L.1). New York, NY: United Nations]. There is a global consensus that whole-of-government approaches (WG) can be particu-larly effective in regulating products such as tobacco, pre-packaged foods and alcohol, which are or can be major risk factors for NCDs. Despite the overwhelming push towards interagency arrangements for health policymaking and implementation, including in contemporary efforts to prevent and control NCDs, there has been minimal investigation into how countries have pursued WG and which types of institutional designs and arrangements offer particular utility to achieve health objectives. This article examines these issues through a case study concerning the interagency mechanism that the Philippine govern-ment currently utilizes to govern tobacco control, the Interagency Committee— Tobacco (IAC-T). We conducted key informant interviews (n ¼ 33) with government officials, and representatives from civil society organizations, health professional associations and intergovernmental organizations. We targeted informants who have been involved in the work of the IAC-T and/or tobacco control policy more broadly. We also analysed public documents to contribute to our analysis of the structure, functioning and legal status of the IAC-T. Our findings highlight two salient challenges that arose in the Philippines case: (1) the inclusion of industry representation on the IAC-T and (2) the attempt to consolidate the responsibilities of the different departments through a policy of 'balance' between health and commercial interests. We analyse how health proponents navigated this challenging institutional arrangement and the various barriers they faced in achieving the intended health objectives. We draw from this case to discuss the lessons that can inform broad calls for WG to NCDs.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Health Policy and Planning
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    • "In reaction, food companies have started to take steps, including changes in package-size, portions and recipes, and the provision of nutrition information through labels (Kolk et al., 2012; Wansink and Huckabee, 2005). However, as the food industry is currently producing more than the population needs and profits rely on increasing consumption (Ludwig and Nestle, 2008), many people believe that its CSR activities are limited and have focused on transferring responsibility to personal will power (e.g., Koplan and Brownell, 2010), resulting in negative responses towards these initiatives. "
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    ABSTRACT: To contribute to the debate on the role of social media in responsible business, this article explores blogger buzz in reaction to food companies’ press releases on health and obesity issues, considering the content and the level of fit between the CSR initiatives and the company. Findings show that companies issued more product-related initiatives than promotion-related ones. Among these, less than half generated a substantial number of responses from bloggers, which could not be identified as a specific group. While new product introductions led to positive buzz, modifications of current products resulted in more negative responses, even if there was a high fit with core business. While promotion-related press releases were received negatively in general, particularly periphery promotion (compared to core promotion) generated most reactions. Our exploratory study suggests that companies can increase the likelihood of a positive reaction if they carefully consider the fit between initiatives and their core business, while taking the notion of ‘controversial fit,’ relating to the unhealthy nature of original products, into account. Further research avenues and implications, as well as limitations, are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Business Ethics
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    • "One of the main difficulties with enacting such policy and legislative change is the opposition from the food and beverage industry [2,121-123]. The industry has strongly opposed legislative and regulatory approaches that encourage healthy eating when these may restrict its profitability [124-126]. It has placed considerable pressure on federal and state legislatures, at least in the United States, to enact statutes prohibiting lawsuits against food and beverage companies and restaurants for obesity-related claims [2,125]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Controlling obesity has become one of the highest priorities for public health practitioners in developed countries. In the absence of safe, effective and widely accessible high-risk approaches (e.g. drugs and surgery) attention has focussed on community-based approaches and social marketing campaigns as the most appropriate form of intervention. However there is limited evidence in support of substantial effectiveness of such interventions. To date there is little evidence that community-based interventions and social marketing campaigns specifically targeting obesity provide substantial or lasting benefit. Concerns have been raised about potential negative effects created by a focus of these interventions on body shape and size, and of the associated media targeting of obesity. A more appropriate strategy would be to enact high-level policy and legislative changes to alter the obesogenic environments in which we live by providing incentives for healthy eating and increased levels of physical activity. Research is also needed to improve treatments available for individuals already obese.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · BMC Public Health
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