The main causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health inequalities and health inequity include consumption of unhealthy commodities such as tobacco, alcohol and/or foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar. These exposures are preventable, but the commodities involved are highly profitable. The economic interests of 'Unhealthy Commodity Producers' (UCPs) often conflict with health goals but their role in determining health has received insufficient attention. In order to address this gap, a new research consortium has been established. This open letter introduces the SPECTRUM ( S haping Public h Ealth poli Cies To Reduce ineq Ualities and har M)Consortium: a multi-disciplinary group comprising researchers from 10 United Kingdom (UK) universities and overseas, and partner organisations including three national public health agencies in Great Britain (GB), five multi-agency alliances and two companies providing data and analytic support. Through eight integrated work packages, the Consortium seeks to provide an understanding of the nature of the complex systems underlying the consumption of unhealthy commodities, the role of UCPs in shaping these systems and influencing health and policy, the role of systems-level interventions, and the effectiveness of existing and emerging policies. Co-production is central to the Consortium's approach to advance research and achieve meaningful impact and we will involve the public in the design and delivery of our research. We will also establish and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with policy makers, alongside our partners, to increase the visibility, credibility and impact of our evidence. The Consortium's ultimate aim is to achieve meaningful health benefits for the UK population by reducing harm and inequalities from the consumption of unhealthy commodities over the next five years and beyond.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 Horton M et al.
- LAW Centre for Health Law and Society
- Public health
- Non-communicable disease
- Unhealthy commodities
- Commercial determinants