A two-part series by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity investigated the influence of pharmaceutical companies on state and federal policies regarding opioids, the powerful painkillers that have claimed the lives of 165,000 people in the U.S. since 2000. Reporters tracked proposed laws on the subject and analyzed data on how the companies and their allies deployed lobbyists and contributed to political campaigns.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asks what can be done to reduce unhealthy eating among adolescents. Researchers hypothesized that aligning healthy eating with important and widely shared adolescent values would produce the needed motivation. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment with eighth graders evaluated the impact of a treatment that framed healthy eating as consistent with the adolescent values of autonomy from adult control and the pursuit of social justice. Healthy eating was suggested as a way to take a stand against manipulative and unfair practices of the food industry, such as engineering junk food to make it addictive and marketing it to young children.
Thirty years of research in tobacco control has shown that countermarketing has been effective in reducing tobacco use, especially among teenagers and young adults. This policy brief by investigators at the City University of New York Urban Food Policy Institute describes some of the key elements of effective tobacco countermarketing campaigns, and examines the relevance of these evidence-based countermarketing practices to unhealthy food and beverages, defined as processed products high in unhealthy fats, sugar, salt and empty calories
Media representations play a crucial role in informing public and policy opinions about the causes of, and solutions to, ill-health. A new paper, published in BMC Public Health, reviews studies analyzing media coverage of non-communicable disease (NCD) debates, focusing on how the industries marketing commodities that increase NCD risk are represented. A scoping review identified 61 studies providing information on media representations of NCD risks, NCD policies and tobacco, alcohol, processed food and soft drinks industries. Continue reading Why media representations of corporations matter for public health policy: a scoping review
A new report in The Milbank Quarterly concludes that passing e-cigarette regulations at the state level has become more difficult since cigarette companies have entered the market. While state legislation is possible, as with earlier tobacco control policymaking, local governments remain a viable option for overcoming cigarette company interference in the policymaking process. Citation: Cox E, Barry RA, Glantz S. E-cigarette Policymaking by Local and State Governments: 2009-2014. The Milbank Quarterly 2016; 94(3): 520–596.
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that the sugar industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development. Citation: Kearns CE, Schmidt LA,Glantz SA. Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents JAMA Intern Med. 2016; Published online September 12, 2016.
Sedentary lifestyles contribute to premature death and health inequalities. Researchers have studied personal and community-level determinants of inactivity but few have analyzed corporate influences. To reframe the public health debate on inactivity and open new doors for public sector intervention, we conducted a scoping review of evidence from several disciplines to describe how the business and political practices of the automobile, construction, and entertainment sectors have encouraged sedentary lifestyles.