The commercial marketing of healthy lifestyles to address the global child and adolescent obesity pandemic: prospects, pitfalls and priorities

Public Health Nutr. 2009 Nov;12(11):2027-36. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009990267. Epub 2009 Jun 23.


Public- and private-sector initiatives to promote healthy eating and physical activity, called 'healthy lifestyles', are a relatively recent response to the global obesity pandemic. The present paper explores different views about marketing healthy lifestyles with a special emphasis on private-sector initiatives and public-private partnerships designed to reach young people. We discuss aspects of these initiatives and partnerships from three perspectives: (i) the potential for commercial marketing practices to have a favourable influence on reversing global obesity trends (termed prospects); (ii) unresolved dilemmas and challenges that may hinder progress (termed pitfalls); and (iii) the implementation and evaluation of coordinated and systematic actions (termed priorities) that may increase the likelihood that commercially marketed healthy-lifestyle initiatives and public-private partnerships can make a positive contribution to reverse the rise in overweight and obesity among young people globally.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Commerce*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Global Health
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Public-Private Sector Partnerships*
  • Social Marketing*
  • Social Responsibility