Can businesses help us to be more healthy?

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15th December 2016

In recent years the government has looked to industry to help it deliver on public health initiatives. This is particularly clear when it comes to diet. Companies have worked together to reduce the salt in products such as ketchup and cornflakes and may be about to do the same with sugar.

It is in the interests of businesses to innovate and to meet demand by coming up with new, healthier products — examples of industry success in the past include nicotine patches and electric cars.

But the primary interest of businesses is not to serve the public good. Instead their duty is to their shareholders. So where does this leave their role in public health?

To answer this question I spoke to Dr Sarah Jarvis, an NHS GP and medical adviser to Drinkaware; Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, and Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Dr Max Pemberton is the editor of Spectator Health.