Researchers to investigate unhealthy choices

Edinburgh-led study to focus on tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food advertising and marketing

Monday 13th May 2019

An international research collaboration headed by the University of Edinburgh is to look at how governments can tackle unhealthy choices promoted by big tobacco, and food and alcohol businesses.

The £6m initiative will focus on the commercial products and choices that limit people’s chances to live longer, healthier lives.

Researcher hope their work will guide public health policies and interventions to address the marketing strategies that influence these choices.

Professor Linda Bauld said the work will address “some of the most controversial questions facing population health”.

The lead researcher added: “To reduce diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases we need to address their main preventable causes. This means introducing and enforcing public health policies that often clash with the business interests of very profitable companies.”

The project, also known as SPECTRUM, is funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership, bringing together 11 universities and public health agencies from across the UK.

It builds on existing work on tobacco and alcohol advertising but extends this to unhealthy foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.