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Abstract

Health campaigns now use striking visual and verbal imagery and the full resources of the mass media to advocate change in individual lifestyle. Politicians also advocate behaviour change. The origin of this approach lay in the post-war decades with the rise of a new style of public health underpinned by chronic disease epidemiology. In stressing individual responsibility for good health, it reconfigured what citizenship and health were about. The new health agenda laid particular emphasis on the visual, and on techniques of mass persuasion. It had a view of the public which was distinctively different from the wartime concept. Its immediate roots lay in transatlantic influence, in the emergence of mass consumption in the aftermath of wartime restrictions; but also in structural changes in responsibility for health and the central/local tension which has characterized much of British health policy.