Over the past few decades, cross-sector partnerships with the private sector have become an increasingly accepted practice in public health, particularly in efforts to address infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries. Now these partnerships are becoming a popular tool in efforts to reduce and prevent obesity and the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. Partnering with businesses presents a means to acquire resources, as well as opportunities to influence the private sector toward more healthful practices. Yet even though collaboration is a core principle of public health practice, public–private or nonprofit–private partnerships present risks and challenges that warrant specific consideration. In this article, we review the role of public health partnerships with the private sector, with a focus on efforts to address obesity and noncommunicable diseases in high-income settings. We identify key challenges—including goal alignment and conflict of interest—and consider how changes to partnership practice might address these.


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