Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

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)

Abstract

Objective

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.

Design

Perspectives of authors.

Setting

UK.

Participants

Populations in the UK; UK Government.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email s.w.flint@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

References

Hide All
1. World Health Organization (2018) Obesity: Situation and trends. http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/obesity_text/en/ (accessed August 2018).
2. World Health Organization (2018) Controlling the global obesity epidemic. https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/obesity/en/ (accessed August 2018).
3. World Health Organization (2018) Time to Deliver: Report of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases. Geneva: WHO.
4. Durand, MA, Petticrew, M, Goulding, L et al. (2015) An evaluation of the Public Health Responsibility Deal: informants’ experiences and views of the development, implementation and achievements of a pledge-based, public–private partnership to improve population health in England. Health Policy 119, 15061514.
5. Department of Health (2011) Healthy Lives, Health People: A Call to Action on Obesity in England. London: UK Government.
6. World Health Organization (2018) WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. http://www.who.int/fctc/en/ (accessed August 2018).
7. Gilmore, AB, Savell, E & Collin, J (2018) Public health, corporations and the new responsibility deal: promoting partnerships with vectors of disease? J Public Health (Oxf) 11, 24.
8. Hawkes, C & Buse, K (2011) Public health sector and food industry interaction: it’s time to clarify the term ‘partnership’ and be honest about underlying interests. Eur J Public Health 21, 400401.
9. Panjwani, C & Caraher, M (2014) The Public Health Responsibility Deal: brokering a deal for public health, but on whose terms? Health Policy 114, 163173.
10. Department of Health and Social Care (2011) Public health responsibility deal. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-health-responsibility-deal (accessed August 2018).
11. King, AA & Lennox, MJ (2000) Industry self-regulation without sanctions: the chemical industry’s responsible care program. Acad Manage J 43, 6980716.
12. Sharma, LL, Teret, SP & Brownell, KD (2010) The food industry and self-regulation: standards to promote success and to avoid public health failures. Am J Public Health 100, 240246.
13. Héritier, A & Eckert, S (2008) New modes of governance in the shadow of hierarchy: self-regulation by industry in Europe. J Public Policy 28, 113138.
14. Knai, C, Petticrew, M, Durand, MA et al. (2015) Has a public–private partnership resulted in action on healthier diets in England? An analysis of the Public Health Responsibility Deal food pledges. Food Policy 54, 110.
15. Carey, G & Crammond, B (2015) Systems change for the social determinants of health. BMC Public Health 15, 662.
16. Pettigrew, S, Tarabashkina, L, Roberts, M et al. (2013) The effects of television and Internet food advertising on parents and children. Public Health Nutr 16, 22052212.
17. HM Treasury (2018) Soft Drinks Industry Levy comes into effect. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/soft-drinks-industry-levy-comes-into-effect (accessed August 2018).
18. World Health Organization, Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (2016) Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. Geneva: WHO.
19. World Health Organization (2010) Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Children. Geneva: WHO Press.
20. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity (2018) The current landscape of obesity services. https://www.obesityappg.com/inquiries/ (accessed August 2018).
21. Flint, SW & McKenna, J (2018) Public transport and the promotion of unhealthy food and drink. Lancet Public Health 3, e312.
22. Knai, C, Lobstein, T, Petticrew, M et al. (2018) England’s childhood obesity action plan II. BMJ 362, k3098.
23. Martin, R (2008) The role of law in the control of obesity in England: looking at the contribution of law to a healthy food culture. Aust N Z Health Policy 5, 21.
24. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (2018) Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC). https://www.bbsrc.ukri.org/innovation/sharing-challenges/drinc/ (accessed August 2018).
25. Petticrew, M, Eastmure, E, Mays, N et al. (2013) The Public Health Responsibility Deal: how should such a complex public health policy be evaluated? J Public Health (Oxf) 35, 495501.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed