Assessing Coordination of Legal-Based Efforts across Jurisdictions and Sectors for Obesity Prevention and Control

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 37 (s1):45-54 (2009)
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Abstract

America’s increasing obesity problem requires federal, state, and local lawyers, policymakers, and public health practitioners to consider legal strategies to encourage healthy eating and physical activity. The complexity of the legal landscape as it affects obesity requires an analysis of coordination across multiple sectors and disciplines. Government jurisdictions can be viewed “vertically,” including the local, state, tribal, and federal levels, or “horizontally” as agencies or branches of government at the same vertical level. Inspired by the successful tobacco control movement, obesity prevention advocates seek comprehensive strategies to “normalize” healthy behaviors by creating environmental and legal changes that ensure healthy choices are the default or easy choices. With many competing demands on diminishing municipal budgets, strategic coordination both vertically and horizontally is essential to foster the environmental and social changes needed to reverse the obesity epidemic.

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