Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Journal launches big series on “Big Food” and public health

English: Montage of images used to illustrate ...

English: Montage of images used to illustrate mission of PLoS Medicine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 25 June 2012 post by Gary Schwitzer at HealthNewsReview.org

The journal PLoS Medicine has begun to publish a series of articles -  “a multidisciplinary approach to exploring the role in health of Big Food, which we define as the multinational food and beverage industry with huge and concentrated market power.”  Excerpt of an editors’ note:

“The time is ripe for PLoS Medicine to shine a light on Big Food. Foremost, large food and beverage companies now have an undeniably influential presence on the global health stage. Whether it’s food company executives providing expertise at major conferences and high-level UN meetings or major global health funders lecturing on what nongovernmental organizations can learn from Coca-Cola, the perspectives and experiences of Big Food are shaping the field of global health. At the same time that their expertise is elevated in global health debates, food companies are rebranding themselves as “nutrition companies,” offering business acumen and knowledge in food science and distribution, and asserting authority over solutions to problems not just of food production but of malnutrition, obesity, and even poverty. The legitimization of food companies as global health experts is further fueled by the growing number of private-public partnerships with public health organizations, ostensibly designed to foster collaborative action to improve people’s health and wellbeing. And yet food companies’ primary obligation is to drive profit by selling food. Why does the global health community find this acceptable and how do these conflicts of interest play out?

Indeed, while problems of obesity and associated disease are dominating discussions and debates in health around the world, there’s a concomitant gulf of critical perspectives on the food industry’s role and competing interests. Despite PLoS Medicine‘s longstanding interest in the tobacco, pharmaceutical, and other industries in health, for example, we have paid relatively little attention to the activities and influence of food and beverage companies.”

Here are links to two pieces:

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

[Book] Environmental Health Ethics

From the summary at Cambridge University Press

Environmental Health Ethics illuminates the conflicts between protecting the environment and promoting human health. In this study, David B. Resnik develops a method for making ethical decisions on environmental health issues. He applies this method to various issues, including pesticide use, antibiotic resistance, nutrition policy, vegetarianism, urban development, occupational safety, disaster preparedness, and global climate change. Resnik provides readers with the scientific and technical background necessary to understand these issues. He explains that environmental health controversies cannot simply be reduced to humanity versus environment and explores the ways in which human values and concerns – health, economic development, rights, and justice – interact with environmental protection.

Features

• Develops a method for ethical decision-making for environmental health controversies which incorporates insights from traditional ethical theories and environmental ethics
• Covers a wide range of timely and important issues, ranging from pesticide use to global warming
• Provides a description of the relevant background information accessible to an audience of educated non-specialists

June 25, 2012 Posted by | environmental health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[India's] Free-medicines-for-all programme to be launched from October

From the 24 June 2012 post at PG Times

India’s ambitious plan to provide free medicines to all patients attending a government hospital across the country will be launched from October, according to a government report.

Manmohan Singh

Strongly backed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself, the free-medicines-for-all scheme has received its first financial allocation of Rs 100 crore from the Planning Commission for 2012-13. The entire programme is estimated to cost Rs 28,560 crore over the 12th Five Year Plan….

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Study Finds Declining Testosterone Levels In Men Not Part Of Normal Aging

From the 25 June 2012 Medical News Today article

A new study finds that a drop in testosterone levels over time is more likely to result from a man’s behavioral and health changes than by aging. The study results will be presented Monday at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.

“Declining testosterone levels are not an inevitable part of the aging process, as many people think,” said study co-author Gary Wittert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia. “Testosterone changes are largely explained by smoking behavior and changes in health status, particularly obesityand depression.” …

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

   

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