Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Commercial Determinants of Health: My Thoughts!

September 18, 2020 · No Comments · CDoH, Uncategorized

Commercial Determinants of Health can be described as, “strategies and approaches used by the private sector to promote products and choices that are detrimental to health” (Kickbusch et al, 2016).  This sector in public health is a relatively new field in which researchers are paying more and more attention to as the impact of these factors are becoming abundantly clear. As corporations continue to encourage the unhealthy habits around the world, researchers have reported a rise in the presence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Although efforts have been made to initiate a healthier change in lifestyle for the general population, corporations have created smart and effective ways to reach consumers through the use of eight different channels and pathways: conceptual framework, governance, accountability, transparency marketing, lobbying, corporate social responsibility strategies, and supply chains. 

The commercial determinants of health - The Lancet Global Health

One of the most common ways corporations reach their target consumers would be through marketing. When you think of the word “commercial,” the first thing that probably comes to mind is a bunch of harmless television advertisements. Santa Claus drinking an ice-cold Coca Cola in December, couples giving one another a Hershey Kiss on Valentine’s Day, Tony the Tiger telling kids that Frosted Flakes are “grrrreeeeeaaat!” for them. You all have seen them, your family has probably seen them, and although I do not often watch television, I have definitely seen my fair share of them. They are so common that sometimes we do not even realize the effect they have on our daily life. Well, what if I told you that the impacts these advertisements have on your life were actually pretty harmful? Shocking, I know! But that does not mean that I am telling you that Santa and Tony the Tiger are secretly out to harm your health. I am bringing attention to the fact that, as consumers, we are easily influenced by the products many corporations sell to us in order to make a profit. Meanwhile, ongoing research projects conducted by public health scientists, pertaining to the topic of Commercial Determinants of Health, begin to offer an explanation as to how these corporations have become so successful in their quest to earn the big bucks Coca-Cola: Santa, 1

In these recent studies, one of the main factors reported that has helped lead corporations to be so successful would be the emphasis on appealing to a target audience. Currently, about 40% of the world’s populations lives on a budget of $2-$10 per day. This 40% of the population is the largest income group in the world, therefore they are the major target of consumer goods especially in regards to processed foods, tobacco products, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Since corporations are using this income group as their target population, they are able to make their products more affordable than healthier alternatives, therefore prompting this group to purchase more processed goods. Although there are many negative impacts on the health of the population when targeting this specific group, it is evident that these corporation in the private sector are assisting in a large amount of  economic growth, moving millions of people out of poverty. However, the economic growth does not deter the fact that the products that are purchased more frequently are unhealthy and contribute greatly to the rising trends of non-communicable diseases in the world. Diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are increasing at an alarming rate and researchers are concerned not only for the health of the population, but also on the future of the economy. According to the World Bank’s calculations, it is projected that developing countries are expected to lose 84 billion dollars of productivity in a decade. This major hit to the economy would be as a result of the death and disability of the population caused by non-communicable diseases.

Tree of non communicable diseases

The impacts of commercial determinants of health are not only traced back to non-communicable diseases and the economy, but they are also prevalent in one of the most recent issues in the world. I consider the impact of this sector in public health one of the most important impacts in relation to the efforts of the public health community in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020: ECC message concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) - Elgin Community College (ECC)COVID-19 has been an aggressive and exceedingly prevalent issue in our nation that has taken the lives of far too many. The burden of this pandemic has been large in many ways, and it is not a secret that many corporations have struggled to meet the demands of products necessary in fighting this virus. Products such as masks, testing kits, and sanitizers have not been able to be produced at the rate necessary to fight this pandemic properly. The researchers in this article note that the framework of the commercial determinants of health in the private sector has been able to reduce the burden of COVID-19 in many ways in response to the shortage of supplies. For example, companies were able to get creative and create reusable masks out of clothing to reduce the spread of transmission and advertisements have been able to encourage social distancing methods in public places. This article explains how the framework for commercial determinants of health of the private sector can also serve as preparation in the event a similar issue or health emergency were to occur in the future.  

Although commercial determinants of health are a relatively new sector in public health, that does not negate the great impact it is has had on the population of the world. As corporations continue to push the selling and advertising of products that are known to wreak havoc on the overall health of the population, it is imperative to create initiatives to put in motion that provide healthier alternatives. Policies need to be created and reviewed to protect the integrity of our vulnerable populations, especially the more impressionable ones that include children and adolescents. If large corporations continue to focus their efforts on making the most money without any regard for the overall health of every individual in the world, the future  will be in great danger. Economically and medically, it is without a doubt and exceedingly clear that things cannot continue the way they have been. It is up to us to fight for the rights of those in the world by creating better initiatives in the public health sector in order to ensure equity among consumers regardless of demographics. It is imperative, now more than ever, that we continue to search for ways to unite as one, on a mission to healthier, happier, and safer living conditions.

Will Be Able To Better Understand The Problems Of Patients - People Holding Hands Around Clipart (893x895), Png Download


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