In light of BMSG research showing that it's easier to influence land-use policies, such as fast-food zoning, on the grounds of aesthetics rather than public health, is it time for advocates to change their tactics?
by Helena Bottemiller Evich, Chase Purdy |
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission has given up on tracking how much the food industry spends to promote unhealthy foods to children, a setback for advocates who want to rein in junk food marketing. BMSG's Lori Dorfman says that if the FTC and Congress don't step up on this issue, advocates will look to state and local policy options instead.
This year's annual meeting of the American Public Health Association focused on "healthography," or how place matters to health. BMSG's Laura Nixon was one of many presenters who applied the theme specifically to our food environment, offering insight on how to limit the availability of fast food.
Over the past few years, numerous attempts to pass a soda tax have failed, but, ultimately, they helped paved the way for a victory in Berkeley. As BMSG Senior Media Researcher Pamela Mejia points out, past soda tax failures "helped change the conversation surrounding the soda debate from one framed by big soda corporations to [one framed by] 'authentic community voices.'"
Media reporting and public buzz can help smart public health policy, such as Berkeley's soda tax, can gain traction quickly, explains Prevention Institute Executive Director Larry Cohen. Referencing BMSG's Lori Dorfman, he discusses how this soda tax victory, and even failed soda tax efforts before it, help to shape social norms and advance public health.