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Fewer mixed signals, more green salad

The communication of public health expertise for the benefit of individuals and the community is necessarily complex in its content and delivery. Isolated public health pronouncements tend to be lost among all the information people need to assimilate in daily life and their disinclination to be told what to do. Public health messages need commitment to sustained, inclusive and responsive strategies that engage the whole community.

As with campaigns against tobacco use, product industries and suppliers are important elements to engage as part of a public health strategy. In an article in our series leading up to the federal election, Magnusson and Reeve (doi: 10.5694/mja13.10843) say that much more has to be done to encourage people to make healthier food choices to prevent chronic disease. They argue that food industry self-regulation has (perhaps inevitably) failed to decrease the consumption of unhealthy foods or people’s exposure (particularly children’s) to their marketing. The food industry, with commercial interests that run up against what governments want, sends mixed signals about its willingness to support healthy eating. Magnusson and Reeve do not advocate direct legislative controls on…

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