Social epidemiology is
“the study of how social interactions—social norms, laws, institutions, conventia, social conditions and behavior—affect the health of populations”
On 6 May in Toronto, Canada, the 3rd International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health had as its keynote speaker George Davey Smith, professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol.
The crowd was roused when evidence was presented to show how the food and beverage industry has distorted the evidence on the link between soft drink consumption and ill health and inactivity.
It was shown that
“soft drink consumption to be linked to increased energy intake and body weight, less nutritional intake, and increased risk of diabetes with a “badly done” industry funded meta-analysis that reported no effect of soft drink consumption on BMI.”
1200 academics and policymakers from 47 countries attended and Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion for Ontario province presented stark statistics on how few adolescents (only 12%) get the daily minimum recommended amount of exercise.
There were comments from the head of Coca Cola Canada, Nikos Koumettis, who described the company’s history of supporting sport (FIFA, Olympics, professional ice hockey and basketball, and community-based children’s programmes) and their new, smaller 100 calorie soft drink products targeted to consumers worried about weight control.
In introducing Nikos Koumettis, conference organisers said
“Coca Cola has been a valued sponsor of all Congresses and that their generosity allowed for reduced conference registration fees and healthy snacks during break times.”
George Davey Smith, presenting immediately after Nikos Koumettis, spoke
“wisely and engagingly about the history of research on social inequalities and health, and he paid tribute to the man who helped found the methodological basis of social epidemiology, Jeremy Morris.. He said this article, “The Perils of Ignoring History: Big Tobacco Played Dirty and Millions Died. How Similar Is Big Food?” by Kelly Brownell and Kenneth Warner, is essential reading.”
“how physical activity improves social connectedness and quality of life, provides economic benefits by reducing health care costs and improving productivity, and contributes to environmental sustainability by promoting active, non-automobile modes of travel.”
Something else to in the interests of our grandchildren…