"Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday," Reuters reports. In a study published in the Lancet, "[t]he researchers said that through the aggressive marketing of ultra-processed food and drink, multinational companies were now major drivers of the world's growing epidemic of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes," the news agency writes (Kelland, 2/11). "Multinational firms have distorted research finding, paid large sums to build relationships with health bodies and lobbied governments to block health regulations, according to the paper published in the Lancet," the Independent states (Brown, 2/12). "The researchers were unable to find any health benefit to industry involvement in voluntary regulation or public-private partnerships," the Guardian writes, adding, "Industry documents, they say, reveal how companies shape public-health legislation and avoid regulation" (Boseley, 2/12).
"[T]he group of public health researchers, led by Professor Rob Moodie at the University of Melbourne, say these industries are now targeting developing nations and must be regulated in the interests of global public health," ABC Science states. Moodie noted individuals should take some responsibility but that "the paper's call to use the introduction of 'legislation, regulation, taxation, pricing, ban, and restriction of advertising and sponsorship' to reduce death and disability from non-communicable diseases is not a naïve call," ABC notes (Cooper, 2/12). "The paper is one of a series published by the medical journal on the large and growing threat of what are known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across the globe -- namely cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases," the Guardian reports (2/12).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.