The declining role of governments in promoting healthy eating – time to rethink the role of food industry?

Bent Egberg Mikkelsen

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The increasing incidence of overweight and obesity calls for strategies to influence individuals’ lifestyle. There
is increasing acceptance of the idea that such strategies should go further than to stress the responsibility of
the individual and focus on wider socioeconomic and environmental factors. This is true also for the
promotion of healthy eating, and as industry increases its awareness towards corporate social responsibility
and societal issues, the actors of the private commercial food sector begin to discover healthy eating as an
important theme, which they have to relate to in their strategic planning and management. This paper
presents evidence that supports this contention and discusses the implications of the seemingly changed
distribution of responsibilities for the promotion of healthy eating between governments and the food
industry. From findings in the social sciences it tries to explain why corporate stakeholders start focusing on
societal expectations, and why this development may coincide with a decline in government responsibility.
Finally, the consequences of this development for the world of nutrition and the food industry are discussed
OriginalsprogEngelsk
BogserieScandinavian Journal of Nutrition. Supplement
ISSN1102-6510
StatusUdgivet - 2005

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