Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?

Date:
October 4, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Should businesses that sell products which are responsible for a huge numbers of deaths, illness and injury, such as tobacco and junk food, be held accountable and made to improve public health? Two experts debate the issue.

Should businesses that sell products which are responsible for a huge numbers of deaths, illness and injury, such as tobacco and junk food, be held accountable and made to improve public health? Two experts debate the issue in the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


Stephen Sugarman a Professor of Law from Berkeley University in California, believes that businesses will only act if their profits are threatened, so current voluntary agreements are insufficient. Instead, he suggests letting governments tell businesses what outcomes they want from them and leaving them to work out how best to achieve regulatory targets.

This new approach, performance based regulation, would focus directly on outcomes. For example, junk food sellers would have to make sure there were fewer obese schoolchildren, car manufacturers would have to reduce the number of fatal road crashes, and tobacco companies would be compelled to reducing smoking prevalence.

If companies do not achieve their goals they would face substantial charges. Given this scenario, it is probable that companies would become very creative in devising new inventions to tackle these problems, writes Sugarman.

He argues that while public health leaders should accept business as an ally they should also wake up to the fact that voluntary cooperation will never achieve enough. He says: "Performance based regulation occupies the middle ground—a third way. Let society set legally enforceable goals and then let enterprises loose to accomplish them."

But Stig Pramming, Executive Director at the Oxford Health Alliance, argues that there is no guarantee that regulation will bring about behavioural change. Selling healthier snack food will not guarantee a fall in obesity levels and increasing bike lanes will not definitely change traffic patterns.

He maintains that businesses have changed—they may not be angels but they are increasingly transparent and cannot afford to neglect their corporate social responsibility, he adds.

While it would be foolish to believe that businesses don't put their profits first, he believes that it is down to activists to be organised and persuasive in getting involved with companies.

Using the example of his own organisation, the Oxford Health Alliance, which engages business, health professionals, policy makers and other stakeholders as equal partners in finding solutions to public health problems, he says that many major companies now see the business sense of promoting healthy choices and behaviours.

He points to examples such as Sainsbury's, which has invested millions of pounds in the development of a childhood obesity programme called MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition … Do it); and PepsiCo which has merged with Quaker Oats and bought the fruit juice company Tropicana to move away from sugary drinks to healthier alternatives.

Pramming concludes: "Cooperation is an urgent priority, and we must act to ensure that business is part of the solution. Regulation is no substitute for collaboration."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002204430.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, October 4). Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002204430.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002204430.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins