WEDNESDAY 22 JAN 2014 3:37 PM


The issue of obesity has increasingly become an issue in public affairs for healthcare groups and businesses alike. Public health experts claim the tide has yet to turn in encouraging good food habits. Brands are beginning to see an impact on communications in response to this push by health organisations.

The National Obesity Forum released a report looking into public health in the UK during National Obesity Awareness Week this month. While issues like fitness, BMI and visiting GPs were addressed, the report also looked at food and beverage habits as a means to creating a healthier lifestyle.

Some companies have already begun to change the way in which they present their brands. Notably, Coca-Cola launched a commitment to fighting obesity last June. ‘Coming Together’ encourages healthy living. The soft-drink giant also ran an ad campaign showing how exercise should complement the imbibing of soda.

David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, says, “There needs to be concerted action. There is a lot more we can be doing by way of earlier intervention and to encourage members of the public to take sensible steps to help themselves – but this goes hand in hand with government leadership and ensuring responsible food and drink manufacturing and retailing.”

Football teams have also recently been called on to quit partnerships with unhealthy food and drink brands. YouGov found that 45% of football fans share concern about unhealthy food offered at stadiums. Liverpool’s deal with Dunkin Donuts for one can be seen as promoting an unhealthy food option. It mitigates this to some extent by promoting its reduced calorie range with Liverpool FC.

Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra says, “We see the food industry adopting similar strategies such as junk food companies sponsoring sporting events and athlete endorsements of sugary drinks with advertising that targets the most vulnerable members of society including children. Regular physical activity is vital for health but loses its value when people continue to consume poorly nutritious foods high in sugar, salt and trans-fats."