Corporate practices and health: a framework and mechanisms

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Steve Lukes’ Three-Dimensional View of Power  credit

The Global Burden of Disease estimates that approximately a third of deaths worldwide are attributable to behavioral risk factors that, at their core, have the consumption of unhealthful products and exposures produced by profit driven commercial entities, write Joana Madureira Lima and Sandro Galea  in a new report in Globalization and Health. They use Steven Lukes’ three-dimensional view of power (see above) to guide the study of the practices deployed by commercial interests to foster the consumption of these commodities. They propose a framework to systematically study corporations and other commercial interests as a distal, structural, societal factor that causes disease and injury. Their framework offers a systematic approach to mapping corporate activity, allowing public health researchers to anticipate and prevent actions that may have a deleterious effect on population health. They conclude that their framework may be used by, and can have utility for, public health practitioners, researchers, students, activists and other members of civil society, policy makers and public servants in charge of policy implementation. It can also be useful to corporations who are interested in identifying key actions they can take towards improving population health.