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Public Health Organizations Fear Industries May Manipulate Outcomes Of U.N. Summit On NCDs

“A group of public health organizations said on Friday they were concerned that industries selling fatty foods, alcohol and cigarettes could hijack a United Nations meeting on how to tackle chronic disease in order to protect their own interests,” Reuters reports. “In a letter to the Lancet medical journal, more than 140 international health organizations and campaign groups said the United Nations should ensure industry lobby groups are not able to manipulate the September 19-20 meeting and its outcome,” writing, “There are clear conflicts for the corporations that contribute to and profit from the sales of alcoholic beverages, foods with high fat, salt, and sugar contents, and tobacco products — all of which are important causes of [non-communicable diseases (NCDs)],” according to the news service (Kelland, 9/15).

Science writes that “some public health experts and advocates who had high hopes for the meeting find their enthusiasm a bit quashed” after “a long, hot summer of diplomatic negotiations, impeded by political gaming, financial concerns, and industry influence, … produced a watered-down [declaration] document that is long on talk and conspicuously short on actions” (Reardon, 9/15). Reuters adds that “fears are growing that with consumer industries lobbying hard and little political appetite for major financial commitments in economic hard times, the meeting may not produce the targets and action plans many public health organizations had hoped for” (9/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.