Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 244–256

The manufacture of lifestyle: The role of corporations in unhealthy living

  • Nicholas Freudenberg
Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2011.60

Cite this article as:
Freudenberg, N. J Public Health Pol (2012) 33: 244. doi:10.1057/jphp.2011.60


Recently, researchers have debated two views on the connection between lifestyle and health. In the first, health-related lifestyles including tobacco and alcohol use, diet, and physical activity are seen as primary influences on health. In the second, social stratification is the dominant influence with lifestyles simply markers of social status. Neither approach leads to interventions that can reverse the world's most serious health problems. This article proposes that corporate practices are a dominant influence on the lifestyles that shape patterns of health and disease. Modifying business practices that promote unhealthy lifestyles is a promising strategy for improving population health. Corporations shape lifestyles by producing and promoting healthy or unhealthy products, creating psychological desires and fears, providing health information, influencing social and physical environments, and advancing policies that favor their business goals. Public officials and health professionals can promote health by advocating policies to modify these corporate practices.


lifestylecorporationsunhealthy products

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Freudenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter CollegeNew YorkUSA