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Junk Food Politics

How Beverage and Fast Food Industries Are Reshaping Emerging Economies

Eduardo J. Gómez

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Why do sugary beverage and fast food industries thrive in the emerging world?

An interesting public health paradox has emerged in some developing nations. Despite government commitment to eradicating noncommunicable diseases and innovative prevention programs aimed at reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes, sugary beverage and fast food industries are thriving. But political leaders in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia are reluctant to introduce policies regulating the marketing and sale of their products, particularly among vulnerable groups like children and the poor…

Why do sugary beverage and fast food industries thrive in the emerging world?

An interesting public health paradox has emerged in some developing nations. Despite government commitment to eradicating noncommunicable diseases and innovative prevention programs aimed at reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes, sugary beverage and fast food industries are thriving. But political leaders in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia are reluctant to introduce policies regulating the marketing and sale of their products, particularly among vulnerable groups like children and the poor. Why?

In Junk Food Politics, Eduardo J. Gómez argues that the challenge lies with the strategic politics of junk food industries in these countries. Industry leaders have succeeded in creating supportive political coalitions by, ironically, partnering with governments to promote soda taxes, food labeling, and initiatives focused on public awareness and exercise while garnering presidential support (and social popularity) through contributions to government anti-hunger and anti-poverty campaigns. These industries have also manipulated scientific research by working with academic allies while creating their own support bases among the poor through employment programs and community services. Taken together, these tactics have hampered people's ability to mobilize in support of stricter regulation for the marketing and sale of unhealthy products made by companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé.

Drawing on detailed historical case studies, Junk Food Politics proposes an alternative political science framework that emphasizes how junk food corporations restructure politics and society before agenda-setting ever takes place. This pathbreaking book also reveals how these global corporations further their policy influence through the creation of transnational nongovernmental organizations that support industry views.

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Eduardo J. Gómez

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Reviews

Reviews

I am impressed. No book like this exists; it breaks new ground and will be very useful. The policy implications across the world are significant.

Shedding light on the power of the food and drinks industry, which in theory should be waning but in practice is stronger than ever, this highly readable book takes the classic case of American politics and the corporate sector's power therein and extends it to new contexts in ways that can inform scholarship and indeed activism about the form of corporate power in play. This is a big step forward for food studies.

A masterful analysis of the political and corporate influences that put unhealthy food in the hands of vulnerable populations. Dr. Gómez has provided a blueprint for shaping a world where industrial interests do not trump the health of populations.

Professor Eduardo Gomez masterfully integrates political science and public health literatures to shed light on one of the world's most pressing challenges—reconciling economic development with public health, especially among vulnerable populations. Junk Food Politics highlights how political will and a principled commitment to population health might ultimately be the only way to undo this Gordian knot.

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About

Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
Preorder
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
416
ISBN
9781421444284
Illustration Description
20 line drawings
Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Revisiting Junk Food Politics: Interest Group Theory, Institutions, and Public Health Policy
Chapter 3. Fear and Opportunity
Chapter 4. Mexico
Chapter 5. Brazil
Chapter 6

Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Revisiting Junk Food Politics: Interest Group Theory, Institutions, and Public Health Policy
Chapter 3. Fear and Opportunity
Chapter 4. Mexico
Chapter 5. Brazil
Chapter 6. India
Chapter 7. Indonesia
Chapter 8. China
Chapter 9. South Africa
Chapter 10. Conclusion
References
Index

Author Bio
Eduardo J. Gómez
Featured Contributor

Eduardo J. Gómez

Eduardo J. Gómez is an associate professor and the director of the Institute of Health Policy and Politics in the College of Health at Lehigh University. He is the author of Geopolitics in Health: Confronting Obesity, AIDS, and Tuberculosis in the Emerging BRICS Economies.