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  4. Food Thinkers Series: The framing of food policies in the media: what next for improving population health in the COVID-19 world?




Food Thinkers Series: The framing of food policies in the media: what next for improving population health in the COVID-19 world?




This event will take place virtually via Zoom. Please note all attendees will need a Zoom account to access the webinar. A free account can be set up when registering for the event.

There are increasing calls for the food industry to be held to greater account in shouldering a hefty part of the blame for Covid-19’s deadly toll. Governments around the world are facing increased pressure for upstream measures in tackling the obesity crisis and related non-communicative diseases. Such policies are likely to force the reformulation of processed foods and prohibit the promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks responsible for driving so much ill health. In such politically charged health debates stakeholders seek to present evidence and arguments for or against policies in line with their interests. Framing of debates in the media is a strategy used to influence public opinion and the political agenda. Given that the successful introduction of upstream food and nutrition policies is a highly political enterprise involving a complex network of stakeholders who seek to influence policy debates, it is useful to learn lessons from the successful introduction of past policies.

In this seminar the introduction of the UK’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) and Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol in Scotland is used to show how the stakeholders presented arguments via the news media to promote frame that would advance their interests. These insights have relevance for how we communicate and hold the global producers and marketers of unhealthy commodities to greater public account in this new Covid-19 world.

Shona Hilton is Professor of Public Health Policy and Deputy Director of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow. She is a social scientist with a track record in the developing and evaluating public health policy communications. Her research focuses on contemporary policy debates facing biomedical, social and public health to help improve the timely translation of scientific knowledge into policy and practice.  Working closely with policy makers, practitioners and the public she co-develops projects to generate evidence on how health issues, evidence and policies are being reported and understood with a priority given to policies that aim to improve population health and reduce health inequalities. She has published over 100 scientific papers and recently co-edited a book on “The media and public health: where next for critical analysis?” Shona is an Editor for PLoS One, Associate Editor for BMC Public Health and co-convener for the BSA Scottish Medical Sociology Group. As part of timely knowledge exchange, Shona is a member and advisor on national public health and third sector organisations including as a member of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group ‘Improving Scotland’s Health: 2021 and Beyond’.

The talk will be followed by an online Q&A session.

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When and where

5.15pm - 6.45pmWednesday 9th December 2020

Contact Details

City Events Team

+44 (0)20 7040 8037

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