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Table of Contents: June 2012

The PLoS Medicine series on Big Food, launched earlier this month, aims to examine and stimulate debate about the activities and influence of the food industry in global health. We define “Big Food” as the multinational food and beverage industry with huge and concentrated market power. The series adopts a multidisciplinary approach and includes critical perspectives from around the world. It represents one of first times such issues have been examined in the general medical literature.

In this month's Editorial to launch the series, the PLoS Medicine Editors discuss the rationale and process of commissioning articles for the series. As they note, industry in health has long fascinated PLoS Medicine but the journal's focus on Big Food is new. Food, unlike tobacco and drugs, is necessary to live and is central to health and disease. And yet the big multinational food companies control what people everywhere eat, resulting in a stark and sick irony: one billion people on the planet are hungry while two billion are obese or overweight. The guest editors, Marion Nestle and David Stuckler, then lay out a background on the role of Big Food in global health, and offer three competing views of how public health professionals can respond. Subsequent articles include: a comparison of soda companies' corporate social responsibility campaigns with those of the tobacco industry; an analysis of the rapid rise of Big Food sales in developing countries; an essay on food sovereignty and who holds power over food; views from South America and Africa on the displacement of traditional diets by the incursion of multinational food companies; and a perspective arguing against an uncritical acceptance of the food industry in health. View the Big Food Collection page at www.ploscollections.org/bigfood.

Image Credit: Original image by Todd Hryckowian at flickr.com, with enhancements by Lizzy Parisotto, PLoS.

Health in Action

Point-of-Care Tests to Strengthen Health Systems and Save Newborn Lives: The Case of Syphilis

David C. Mabey, Kimberly A. Sollis, Helen A. Kelly, Adele S. Benzaken, Edward Bitarakwate, John Changalucha, Xiang-Sheng Chen, Yue-Ping Yin, Patricia J. Garcia, Susan Strasser, Namwinga Chintu, Tikki Pang, Fern Terris-Prestholt, Sedona Sweeney, Rosanna W. Peeling

Policy Forums

Soda and Tobacco Industry Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns: How Do They Compare?

Lori Dorfman, Andrew Cheyne, Lissy C. Friedman, Asiya Wadud, Mark Gottlieb

Research Articles

Analysing Recent Socioeconomic Trends in Coronary Heart Disease Mortality in England, 2000–2007: A Population Modelling Study

Madhavi Bajekal, Shaun Scholes, Hande Love, Nathaniel Hawkins, Martin O'Flaherty, Rosalind Raine, Simon Capewell

Tobacco Industry Manipulation of Tobacco Excise and Tobacco Advertising Policies in the Czech Republic: An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents

Risako Shirane, Katherine Smith, Hana Ross, Karin E. Silver, Simon Williams, Anna Gilmore

Nevirapine- Versus Lopinavir/Ritonavir-Based Initial Therapy for HIV-1 Infection among Women in Africa: A Randomized Trial

Shahin Lockman, Michael Hughes, Fred Sawe, Yu Zheng, James McIntyre, Tsungai Chipato, Aida Asmelash, Mohammed Rassool, Sylvester Kimaiyo, Douglas Shaffer, Mina Hosseinipour, Lerato Mohapi, Francis Ssali, Margret Chibowa, Farida Amod, Elias Halvas, Evelyn Hogg, Beverly Alston-Smith, Laura Smith, Robert Schooley, John Mellors, Judith Currier, the OCTANE (Optimal Combination Therapy After Nevirapine Exposure) ACTG A5208/OCTANE Study Team

Reproductive Outcomes Following Ectopic Pregnancy: Register-Based Retrospective Cohort Study

Sohinee Bhattacharya, David J McLernon, Amanda J Lee, Siladitya Bhattacharya

Bacterial Vaginosis Associated with Increased Risk of Female-to-Male HIV-1 Transmission: A Prospective Cohort Analysis among African Couples

Craig R. Cohen, Jairam R. Lingappa, Jared M. Baeten, Musa O. Ngayo, Carol A. Spiegel, Ting Hong, Deborah Donnell, Connie Celum, Saidi Kapiga, Sinead Delany, Elizabeth A. Bukusi

Comparative Performance of Private and Public Healthcare Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review

Sanjay Basu, Jason Andrews, Sandeep Kishore, Rajesh Panjabi, David Stuckler