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Scepticism over partnership with industry to tackle non-communicable diseases

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have highlighted scepticism within the global public health community about the effectiveness of partnership approaches for addressing non-communicable diseases such as obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A survey of public health experts in over 40 countries found most are wary of partnerships between the health sector and commercial producers of unhealthy commodities, such as those promoted in UK’s Public Health Responsibility Deal. While many alcohol and ultra-processed food companies seek to portray themselves as partners in addressing the growing burden of chronic disease, a majority of public health researchers, advocates and policymakers believe that partnerships with these industries are unlikely to be effective in promoting public health. In contrast, there is strong support for measures to isolate these industries from health policy, promotion and research activities, as is now accepted practice in relation to the tobacco industry.