Editorials

The white paper on public health

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7477.1247 (Published 25 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1247
  1. Rosalind Raine (Rosalind.raine@lshtm.ac.uk), MRC clinician scientist,
  2. Gill Walt, head,
  3. Ian Basnett, assistant director of public health
  1. Department of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  2. Department of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  3. North East London Strategic Health Authority, 81 Commercial Road, London E1 1RD

    Is promising, but has some blind spots, which must be tackled

    The white paper Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier lays out the government's approach to tackling a broad range of public health challenges from smoking, obesity, and drinking to mental and sexual health.1 Positive aspects, such as signposting foods to indicate their fat, salt, and sugar contents have quite rightly been welcomed. Limitations, including the ironic coupling of the emphasis on individual choice with a failure to tackle secondhand smoke, are being highlighted by the relevant expert groups. The public are developing an awareness of the relevance of these public health issues in their lives, thanks in part to the substantial media coverage of the report's contents and of stakeholders' responses. At least these problems are beginning to get a thorough public airing, which must be a step in the right direction for further policy change. However, to maximise the …

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