237963 Impact of Corporations on Community Health: Disease Promotion and its Remedies

Monday, October 31, 2011: 4:35 PM

Nicholas Freudenberg, DrPH , City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, NY
In the 21st century, the business and political practices of corporations have become a dominant social determinant of health. This session describes some of the pathways by which the global, national and local practices of corporations influence health and health inequalities at the community level. Through business practices such as product design, advertising, retailing and pricing and political practices such as lobbying, campaign contributions, and public relations corporations and their allies influence lifestyles, living conditions and social and physical environments. These in turn determine the prevalence and distribution of illness and health. In recent decades, public health professionals, community organizations, some public officials, and social movement have mobilized to confront the health damaging practices of the alcohol, automobile, food and beverage, firearms, pharmaceutical, tobacco and other industries. For example, activists have forced tobacco companies to withdraw products targeted at African Americans, drug companies to lower prices of needed medications, fast food companies to re-formulate their products, and automakers to improve safety and pollution control. At the same time, however, multinational companies have dominated trade agreements, resisted more effective public health regulation and moved marketing of their most dangerous products to poor communities and nations, thus exacerbating health inequalities. By analyzing the accomplishments, limitation and challenges of these initiatives, public health professionals can identify new approaches to improving population health.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session participants will be able to: 1. Describe the impact of corporate practices on health and health inequalities 2. Analyze the potential for public health professionals to support action to modify health-damaging corporate practices

Keywords: Health Promotion, Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked and written in this field for more than five years
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.