Public health campaigns to change industry practices that damage health: an analysis of 12 case studies

Health Educ Behav. 2009 Apr;36(2):230-49. doi: 10.1177/1090198107301330. Epub 2007 Dec 12.


Industry practices such as advertising, production of unsafe products, and efforts to defeat health legislation play a major role in current patterns of U.S. ill health. Changing these practices may be a promising strategy to promote health. The authors analyze 12 campaigns designed to modify the health-related practices of U.S. corporations in the alcohol, automobile, food and beverage, firearms, pharmaceutical, and tobacco industries. The objectives are to examine the interactions between advocacy campaigns and industry opponents; explore the roles of government, researchers, and media; and identify characteristics of campaigns that are effective in changing health-damaging practices. The authors compared campaigns that operate at different levels of organization and use different strategies. Findings suggest that many campaigns achieve policy or mobilization outcomes that may contribute to improved health; local campaigns may be more effective than national ones; and advocates frequently frame their campaigns on the themes of children's health and social justice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Industry / organization & administration*
  • Mass Media
  • Politics
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Social Change*