In this, the first of a two-part post, we’ll be hearing from Council Members
Pierre Chandon, PhD, James O. Hill, PhD, Stephan Jacob, PhD, and Ellen E. Wartella, PhD.
Why did you accept to join the CGF H&W External Scientific Advisory Council?
Ellen: I accepted because I really do believe that a consortium of food and beverage manufacturers and retailers who commit to increasing healthy food options around the world can have an impact above and beyond changing the practices of individuals.
Stephan: As there is a growing number of lifestyle-related (health) problems worldwide, we MUST act as soon as possible. Many studies show that most of the cardio-metabolic problems – but also even many types of cancer – can be prevented or better treated via a healthier lifestyle.
We all know that many factors contribute to the development of health problems, but one of these is, undoubtedly, the quality and quantity of food being offered. Food choices are not only made by cognitive decisions, and this is why, for instance, marketing has an influential role that needs to be used correctly. Affordability is also a very special and important issue. We need to make sure that people have access to healthy and affordable food.
I am positive that we can only make a change, if we all collaborate and try to find creative solutions, instead of blaming others, such as the food industry, for causing such problems.
James: I am passionate about promoting health and wellness. It is going to be very difficult to inspire people to make the kinds of changes they need to make to achieve wellness, and we cannot just focus on one or two things, but must focus on the total lifestyle. If we are going to succeed, we need every sector of society to be involved. In particular, we need the private sector to be involved to make it easier for people to make healthier choices in the market place. I am looking forward to helping the CGF companies do exactly that.
Pierre: I believe that we won’t be able to make significant progress on global health and wellness without the involvement of consumer goods manufacturers and retailers.
What do you want to achieve?
Ellen: I hope that my understanding of the issues surrounding health and wellness of consumers, and especially my understanding of the children and advertising research area, can help identify practices the CGF members will be able to initiate and monitor for their success.
Stephan: We need to get together; all people involved in the complex process: the food producers and the vendors, etc, and also us, the scientists, doctors and psychologists. We need to learn from each other and we need to get into a constructive discussion about what can be done and WHEN.
We have to work on healthier, affordable diets together. Most of the people worldwide do not have enough money to buy healthy food. We need to educate consumers about the benefits of a good and healthy lifestyle.
James: I want the CGF companies to understand that they can use the small changes approach to contribute to health and wellness. Today, we live in an environment where it is easy to make poor choices related to diet, physical activity and other components of wellness. While most people want to maximise their wellness, it is difficult to push back against our biological tendencies to overconsume fat, sugar and salt and to be inactive. Our unhealthy lifestyles have led to high rates of obesity and chronic diseases. I believe that we do not have to radically change the way we live to turn this around and that we can do it through a series of small lifestyle changes. Changing any single thing in our environment is not going to achieve our goal but people can make a lot of small changes to make a difference. By providing marginally better choices in a variety of areas, we can help people avoid obesity. We cannot succeed without the involvement of the private sector.
Pierre: I would like to help all the parties involved in the fight against obesity and for what I call “food wellbeing,” realise that, beyond the conflicts and recriminations, everyone has an interest in working together.
This Q&A was conducted and reported on by:
Director, Health & Wellness
The Consumer Goods Forum