Health and Well-Being

State Business Society Large Square

The Health and Well-Being theme undertakes research and policy engagement on health systems, nutrition and obesity, tobacco and alcohol control, social care, and the politics of aging. Work is organised into three closely linked, interdisciplinary research and knowledge clusters: corporations and health, patient and citizen engagement, and healthy ageing. 

Corporations and Health
Our work on corporations and health explores the intersections between the commodification and commercialisation of unhealthful commodities and public health. Unhealthful commodities, such as highly processed foods, alcohol, tobacco, and endocrine disrupting chemicals, have driven the global increase in non-communicable diseases. Our research seeks to explain how unhealthful commodities, life-style choices and the broader social and political environment are conditioned by the activities of corporations within three interdependent fields: product development, marketing and policy influence (see figure).

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Patient and Citizenship Engagement
Globally there is an increased interest in ensuring patients have a more active role in shaping not only their own healthcare but also health policy and prioritisation as well as being more involved in research. Our work explores the different approaches pursued in different countries within Europe, North America and Australia and how these relate to growing consumerism, patient choice and the design of the health system. Issues of individualism embedded in consumerist approaches to healthcare challenge social solidarity and the risk-pooling that is central to the design of most health systems. The need to balance the co-production of health and wellbeing with ensuring equity in access to health care sits at the centre of the tension between patient involvement and public/citizen involvement. Current work includes implementing an innovative public involvement system for Public Health England and piloting a measurement tool for evaluating the impact of involvement within healthcare organisations.

Named investigator: Gary Fooks
Title: Low Visibility Tobacco industry Political Activity and Contemporary Tobacco Regulation
Funder and Reference: Cancer Research UK - C38058/A18499
Award: £42,295
Dates: July 2014-October 2016
Summary: Contemporary regulatory pressures on the tobacco industry in conjunction with implementation of Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have encouraged tobacco companies to place greater emphasis on lower visibility political techniques in order to shape the underlying legal basis of health policymaking. This project examines an important aspect of this phenomenon: efforts aimed at shaping policy innovation and instruments associated with Better Regulation agenda. In addition to driving creeping bureaucratisation in policymaking and providing a framework for ex post facto review of health policy, rules and guidance associated with Better Regulatory initiatives are likely to facilitate legal review of policy implementation and are therefore highly relevant to understanding contemporary legal risks to health policy.