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Corporate Accountability International

Policy Brief: Countermarketing Unhealthy Food: Lessons from Tobacco

Policy Brief: Countermarketing Unhealthy Food: Lessons from Tobacco

Nicholas Freudenberg, Chris Palmedo, Eleni Murphy and Sarah Garza for the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

In the next decade, experts predict that diet-related diseases may overtake tobacco as the leading cause of premature death and preventable illness in New York City and around the world. Many factors have contributed to the rise of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other diet-related conditions. One reason is relentless marketing of unhealthy food by food and beverage companies. Each year, U.S. food companies spend more than $2 billion   targeting children with ads, mostly for highly processed foods high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, the products most associated with diet-related diseases. As advocates explore solutions to this impending public health crisis, one strategy that shows promise is countermarketing.