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Ethical Considerations in Support of the Marketing of Public Health Issues

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Objective: Marketing is felt by many to be an unethical way to manage public health behaviors. This paper reviews literature in several fields in order to develop an ethical framework. Methods: It considers contextual issues such as the society within which marketing is practiced, education and law as alternative methods of behavior management, the role of the individual in the community, tradeoffs of free choice and externalities, and the rights and responsibilities of the individual. Results: Several major paradigms of political philosophy emerge and require consideration. Conclusion: Social marketing within the context of a contemporary democratic society can be ethical.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Business, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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