The role of the food industry in health: lessons from tobacco?

Capewell, Simon ORCID: 0000-0003-3960-8999 and Lloyd-Williams, Ffion
(2018) The role of the food industry in health: lessons from tobacco? British medical bulletin, 125 (1). 131 - 143.

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Introduction:In this review, we highlight poor diet as the biggest risk factor for non-communicable diseases. We examine the denial tactics used by the food industry, how they reflect the tactics previously used by the tobacco industry, and how campaigners can use this knowledge to achieve future public health successes. Sources of data:Data sources are wide ranging, notably publications relating to public health, obesity and processed food, the effectiveness hierarchy and food industry denialism tactics. Areas of agreement:Global burden of disease analyses consistently demonstrate that poor diet produces a bigger burden of non-communicable disease than tobacco, alcohol and inactivity put together. The lessons learnt from the tobacco control experience of successfully fighting the tobacco industry can be applied to other industries including processed food and sugary drinks. Areas of controversy:Tackling obesity and poor diet is a more complex issue than tobacco. Food industries continue to promote weak or ineffective policies such as voluntary reformulation, and resist regulation and taxation. However, the UK food industry now faces increasing pressure from professionals, public and politicians to accept reformulation and taxes, or face more stringent measures. Growing points and areas timely for developing research:The rise in childhood and adult obesity needs to be arrested and then reversed. Unhealthy processed food and sugary drinks are a major contributing factor. There is increasing interest in the tactics being used by the food industry to resist change. Advocacy and activism will be essential to counter these denialism tactics and ensure that scientific evidence is translated into effective regulation and taxation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Obesity, Public Health, Social Control, Formal, Food Industry, Tobacco Industry, Policy Making, Noncommunicable Diseases
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2018 09:36
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2020 09:13
DOI: 10.1093/bmb/ldy002