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Health Equity in a Globalizing EraPast Challenges, Future Prospects$
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Ronald Labonté and Arne Ruckert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835356.001.0001

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The global diffusion of non-communicable diseases

The global diffusion of non-communicable diseases

(p.241) Chapter 11 The global diffusion of non-communicable diseases
Health Equity in a Globalizing Era

Ronald Labonté

Arne Ruckert

Oxford University Press

Notwithstanding the threat of infectious pandemics, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the leading cause of preventable mortality and morbidity in all regions of the world except Africa. The rise in NCDs, especially in the developing world, is very much a result of global market integration, trade and investment liberalization, and the growth in the reach and power of transnational corporations whose stock-in-trade are health-harmful commodities (tobacco, alcohol, and obesogenic foods). The modern global governance challenge of what are now referred to as the ‘commercial determinants of health’ is the extent to which such commodities are regulated by governments, passed over to corporate social (self-) responsibility, or seen as an amalgam of the poor lifestyles of individuals in need of a behavioural ‘nudge’. The World Health Organization, the lead international organization developing responses to the NCD threat, must confront powerful member nations representing powerful corporate interests resistant to regulatory change.

Keywords:   NCDs, big tobacco, big alcohol, obesogenic foods, commercial determinants of health, NCD ‘best buys’, FCTC, tobacco farming livelihoods, corporate social responsibility, soda taxes

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