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Improving our diets: more freedom or more control?

17.30 - 19:00

McCrum Lecture Theatre, Behind the Eagle pub on Benet Street, Corpus Christi College, CB2 1RH

SPHR researchers from the University of Cambridge will be taking part in a panel discussion at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Across the world our diets are often poor – damaging our health and putting pressure on collective resources such as healthcare. And the negative effects of the unhealthy food available in our shops, restaurants and takeaways tend to hit the poorest in society hardest.

Governments, public health agencies and commercial companies have attempted various measures to get us to eat more healthily, including food labelling, taxes, changing the recipes of processed foods, and influencing what shops are on the high street. The choice of which approach to use is not only a matter of what works, but touches on fundamental questions about our responsibilities and freedoms. Do public health policies restrict our individual liberty to make our own choices? Or does the state have a duty to protect us from profiteering corporations and our own worst instincts? Are there universal answers to these questions, or are they different for different groups and individuals in a society?

Join public health and policy experts for a facilitated discussion to explore these questions and the practical and philosophical challenges they raise. Find out how evidence and ethics can help us decide when and how to intervene.

This event is organised by the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research, and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.


17.30 – An opportunity to meet the researchers and learn about their work in dietary public health and policy
18.00 – Facilitated discussion
19.00 – Post-discussion refreshments and further opportunity to meet the researchers


Professor Mike Kenny, Bennett Institute for Public Policy


Dr Jean Adams, Centre for Diet and Activity Research, Cambridge University (a member of NIHR School for Public Health Research)
Dr Thomas Burgoine, Centre for Diet and Activity Research, Cambridge University (a member of NIHR School for Public Health Research)
Professor Mike Kelly, Department of Public Health and Primary Care and former Director of the Centre for Public Health at the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
Professor Jaideep Prabhu, Judge Business School

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