Biomedical research is increasingly globalized with ever more research conducted in low and middle-income countries. This trend raises a host of ethical concerns and critiques. While community engagement has been proposed as an ethically important practice for global biomedical research, there is no agreement about what these practices contribute to the ethics of research, or when they are needed.
As concerns about the negative health effects of unhealthy eating, overweight and obesity have increased, so too have policy efforts to promote healthy eating. Federal, state, and local governments have proposed and implemented a variety of healthy eating policies. Many of these policies are controversial, facing objections that range from the practical (e.g., the policy won’t succeed at improving people’s diets) to the ethical (e.g., the policy is paternalistic or inequitable). Especially controversial have been policies limiting the options offered in (...) the marketplace, limiting access to certain options, or providing disincentives for the purchase of certain options. Examples of such policies include proposed .. (shrink)
Many anti-obesity policies face a variety of ethical objections. We consider one kind of anti-obesity policy — modifications to food assistance programs meant to improve participants' diet — and one kind of criticism of these policies, that they are inequitable. We take as our example the recent, unsuccessful effort by New York State to exclude sweetened beverages from the items eligible for purchase in New York City with Supplemental Nutrition Support Program assistance. We distinguish two equity-based ethical objections that were (...) made to the sweetened beverage exclusion, and analyze these objections in terms of the theoretical notions of distributive equality and social equality. First, the sweetened beverage exclusion is unfair or violates distributive equality because it restricts the consumer choice of SNAP participants relative to non-participants. Second, it is disrespectful or violates social equality to prohibit SNAP participants from purchasing sweetened beverages with food stamps. We conclude that neither equity-based ethical objection is decisive, and that the proposed exclusion of sugar-sweetened beverages is not a violation of either distributive or social equality. (shrink)
As concerns about the negative health effects of unhealthy eating and overweight/obesity increase, so too do efforts to combat obesity. Both the federal government, as well as state and local governments, have proposed and implemented a variety of healthy eating and obesity prevention policies. Many of these policies are controversial, facing objections that range from the practical to the ethical. In this paper, we consider one such policy — restrictions on food assistance programs that are meant to improve participants’ diet (...) — and one criticism of these policies, that they are inequitable. We take as our primary example the recent, unsuccessful effort by New York State to exclude sweetened beverages from the items eligible for purchase in New York City with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. (shrink)