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Seven-year itch: the UK Government’s difficult relationship with the food and drink industry since Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Call to Action on Obesity in England (2011)

  • Stuart W Flint (a1) and Emily J Oliver (a2)



Unhealthy food and drink consumption is associated with a range of physical and mental health concerns. In response, public health policies have been developed targeting a reduction in obesity in particular. In the present commentary we argue that government–industry partnerships have reduced the effectiveness of resultant policies and explore why.


Perspectives of authors.




Populations in the UK; UK Government.


Industry involvement has presented three interrelated challenges for the UK Government: (i) balancing collaboration while maintaining appropriate distance from industry stakeholders; (ii) resultant production of ‘watertight’ and effective legislation or intervention; and (iii) actual or perceived limited sanctioning or bargaining power.


Industry involvement in public health policy making has led to weak action. Support with policy implementation (rather than development) and genuine ‘buy-in’ from industry could accelerate the pace of public health improvement.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email


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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
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