There is a continual need for strong public health advocacy to champion the public good. This Food Thinkers seminar will explore advocacy by civil society in the context of food, nutrition and health policy, with the purpose of stimulating discussion on the role it plays, what it involves and how it can be used more effectively for the public interest.
The seminar will start with an overview of advocacy, the theory and its context, including where civil society fits within modern politics and the challenges and complexity that is faced. A number of case studies from nutrition advocacy will then be used to explore and reflect on the different advocacy goals, style and strategy used, as well as the advocacy effectiveness. The case studies to be focused on will be (1) front-of-pack labelling (2) salt reduction and (3) obesity.
During the discussion, participants were encouraged to reflect on and share their own advocacy experiences, old and new, across different issues within food to help build a better understanding of the role advocacy plays and the impact it can have in public health.
Hannah is a Registered Public Health Nutritionist with experience working in campaign and research roles within civil society organisations at a UK, European and international level. Hannah is currently Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs at the World Obesity Federation and has previously worked at Consensus Action on Salt & Health and the Food Commission. In these roles Hannah has campaigned on a number of issues including food marketing, reformulation, labelling, obesity-prevention, consumer rights and conflicts of interest in research and policy. Most recently, Hannah has been involved in advocacy calling for a comprehensive global food treaty to protect and promote healthy diets.
Hannah is also a part time PhD student at City University, London. Her research involves a critical analysis of public health advocacy in UK food and nutrition policy, through which she hopes to improve understanding of ‘what works’ in advocacy and the indicators that can be used for assessing its impact and effectiveness. Hannah’s main interests lie in the commercial determinants of health, obesogenic food environments, tackling the upstream drivers of disease, power and public interest advocacy.
Hannah also joined the FRC for a Food Bites to give us a snapshot snapshot of what the current issues in the food system are and what civil society organisations and academics could be doing to work towards solutions.