Public health, corporations and the New Responsibility Deal: Promoting partnerships with vectors of disease?

A.B. Gilmore, E. Savell, J. Collin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The products of tobacco, alcohol and food industries are responsible for a significant and growing proportion of the global burden of disease. Smoking and alcohol combined account for 12.5% of global deaths and 19.5% in high-income countries, while six diet-related risk factors account for 13.6 and 17.5% of deaths, respectively.1 Arguably the greatest challenge and opportunity for public health lies in reducing the contributions of tobacco use, unhealthy diet and harmful alcohol consumption to the rising global burden of non-communicable diseases.2 This demonstrates a pressing need to improve our understanding of how corporations contribute to this disease burden, both directly through the promotion of products damaging to health and indirectly through influence over public policy. The concept of an industrial epidemic—an epidemic emerging from the commercialization of potentially health-damaging products—lends itself to this purpose.3,4 Adapting traditional public health constructs, it identifies the role of the host (the consumer), agent (the product, e.g. cigarettes, alcohol), environment and, crucially, the disease vector (the corporation).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-4
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011

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