Can scientists research nutrition if they take money from the food industry? Nutrition scientist and author Marion Nestle has long been concerned about the way food company sponsorship influences (or, at best, appears to influence) the outcome of research on nutrition and health. She says that the idea that one food or food product has a big impact on health doesn’t really make sense, yet we see these claims all the time.
Marion Nestle sat down with Laura Schmidt, UCSF Professor of Health Policy, for this lively conversation that explores the conflicts of interest behind food studies funded by food corporations, the proven biases they create from the get-go, and how this directly affects the way we eat. They also talk about how to be more aware of misleading publications about nutrition and how to identify industry-funded research.
You’ll also get a preview of the upcoming dietary guidelines and hear more about global food systems. Find out how Marion knows there are industry “spies” at most of her talks – confirmation of this came about through the Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Nestle is the author of ten books, most recently “Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat” and “Food Politics 2018: Food Industry Influence on Nutrition Research.”
Do you want to find out how various food and beverage manufacturers have manipulated science and public health policy over the last 50 years? Now you can with the new searchable archive of food industry documents at the UCSF Industry Documents Library. The Food Industry Documents Archive https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/ is a brand-new collection of over 30,000 documents related to the food industry and its impact on public health.
This new archive builds on the long history at UCSF of caring for those suffering from obesity and helps researchers get at the root causes that contribute to the disease. This archive comes at an important time as researchers and policy experts take great strides to address problems of industry influence on our health, food and human rights. Data is powerful in creating change and now documents that the industry wanted secret are safe and available.
Existing archives of Chemical, Drug, and Tobacco Industry collections at UCSF have saved millions of lives. The future research with the Food Industry Documents Archive materials will have a dramatic impact on human health and policy changes.
Find out more about these documents that highlight marketing, research, and policy strategies used by food companies and trade groups, and reveal the communications and connections between industry, academic, and regulatory organizations.
These two programs feature speeches and presentations from the unveiling of the archive.
They may not seem related, but Dr. Sandro Galea, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, says we can approach guns, obesity and opioids in the same manner: population health. Dr. Galea breaks down the key concepts of population health – a relatively new field – during the inaugural Colloquium on Population Health and Health Equity at the UCSF School of Medicine.
Dr. Galea argues guns, obesity and opioids are the three epidemics of our time, and three of the main reasons life expectancy is declining in the United States. They also share three key characteristics: They are important, costly health concerns. They are complex. They are resistant to simple solutions. The key to overcoming these challenges Dr. Galea says, is using the population health approach.
He lists nine principles of population health, but focuses on four, including the concept that small changes in ubiquitous causes of health problems can have a greater impact than big changes to rare causes. Dr. Galea uses the example that while much has been done to curb the overprescription of opioids, the epidemic continues to grow. That’s because other options, like synthetic opioids, have become more widely available. Dr. Galea says that’s where population health comes in – finding ways to improve health on a large scale, and addressing epidemics from every angle.
UCLA’s School of Nursing has partnered with the Union Rescue Mission to provide tuberculosis testing for those on Skid Row. The UCLA Newsroom gives us an inside look at the clinic within the Union Rescue Mission and the work they are doing to combat a recent outbreak of TB in the area.
“The first shoot we had scheduled was in Gladys Park a few blocks away from the clinic. They do an outreach when the park opens up and they offer testing,” said Sebastian Hernandez, Manager of the Broadcast Studio, who was involved in the filming of this documentary.
UCLA Today reports, “Public health officials have identified 78 TB cases that have occurred on skid row in 2007-2012. Of those cases, 60 people were homeless. And of those 60, 11 died of TB. All of these cases could have been treated with medication, the county reported.”
The School of Nursing offers testing to all who are willing, whether or not they are staying at the mission.
“It’s a different reality down there [in Gladys Park]. It’s a shady part of town, but you recognize that they are just people trying to cope. It was different inside the mission. People are more at ease. It feels like a safer place for the people living there.”
Hernandez says that the rescue mission seems like it can be a launching pad to get people off the streets and presents them with many different health care services.
“It’s valuable to recognize that there are a bunch of different steps involved in addressing homelessness and all the issues surrounding it. They seem to do a good job of giving the residents the comprehensive care that they need,” says Hernandez. “We need to be aware that a process is necessary and no ‘one free lunch program’ is going to solve the issue. People can mention how homelessness is sad but I hope that seeing this can inspire people to really get beyond guilt and actively support broad policies that address homelessness.”
The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have a pervasive impact on the nation and particularly California, the most populous and diverse state in the country.
In this new program from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Post-doctoral Scholars Program in Health Policy Research, Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President for Special Initiatives, The Kaiser Family Foundation, and Bruce Bodaken, Chairman and CEO, Blue Shield of California examine access, cost and quality of care issues.