Public Health Law and Policy

Oakland, CA, United States

Public Health Law and Policy

Oakland, CA, United States
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Graff S.,Public Health Law and Policy | Kunkel D.,University of Arizona | Mermin S.E.,Public Good Law Center
Health Affairs | Year: 2012

The childhood obesity crisis has prompted repeated calls for government action to curb the marketing of unhealthy food to children. Food and entertainment industry groups have asserted that the First Amendment prohibits such regulation. However, case law establishes that the First Amendment does not protect "inherently misleading" commercial speech. Cognitive research indicates that young children cannot effectively recognize the persuasive intent of advertising or apply the critical evaluation required to comprehend commercial messages. Given this combination-that government can prohibit "inherently misleading" advertising and that children cannot adequately understand commercial messages-advertising to children younger than age twelve should be considered beyond the scope of constitutional protection. © 2012 by Project HOPE - The People-to-People Health Foundation.

Tester J.M.,Childrens Hospital Oakland Research Institute | Stevens S.A.,Public Health Law and Policy | Yen I.H.,University of California at San Francisco | Laraia B.A.,University of California at San Francisco
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2010

Mobile food vending is a component of the food environment that has received little attention in the public health literature beyond concerns about food sanitation and hygiene issues. However, several features of mobile food vending make it an intriguing venue for food access. We present key components of mobile vending regulation and provide examples from12 US cities to illustrate the variation that can exist surrounding these regulations. Using these regulatory features as a framework, we highlight existing examples of "healthy vending policies" to describe how mobile food vending can be used to increase access to nutritious food for vulnerable populations.

Graff S.K.,Public Health Law and Policy | Kappagoda M.,Public Health Law and Policy | Wooten H.M.,Public Health Law and Policy | McGowan A.K.,Robert Wood Johnson Foundation | Ashe M.,Public Health Law and Policy
Annual Review of Public Health | Year: 2012

The U.S. population is facing an obesity crisis wrought with severe health and economic costs. Because social and environmental factors have a powerful influence over lifestyle choices, a national obesity prevention strategy must involve population-based interventions targeted at the places where people live, study, work, shop, and play. This means that policy, in addition to personal responsibility, must be part of the solution. This article first describes the emergence of and theory behind the obesity prevention movement. It then explains how government at all levels is empowered to develop obesity prevention policy. Finally, it explores eight attributes of a promising state or local obesity prevention policy and sets the obesity prevention movement in the context of a larger movement to promote healthy communities and prevent chronic disease. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Harris J.L.,Yale University | Graff S.K.,Public Health Law and Policy
Preventing Chronic Disease | Year: 2011

The obesity epidemic cannot be reversed without substantial improvements in the food marketing environment that surrounds children. Food marketing targeted to children almost exclusively promotes calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods and takes advantage of children's vulnerability to persuasive messages. Increasing scientific evidence reveals potentially profound effects of food marketing on children's lifelong eating behaviors and health. Much of this marketing occurs in nationwide media (eg, television, the Internet), but companies also directly target children in their own communities through the use of billboards and through local environments such as stores, restaurants, and schools. Given the harmful effect of this marketing environment on children's health and the industry's reluctance to make necessary changes to its food marketing practices, government at all levels has an obligation to act. This article focuses on policy options for municipalities that are seeking ways to limit harmful food marketing at the community level.

Harris J.L.,Yale University | Graff S.K.,Yale University | Graff S.K.,Public Health Law and Policy
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2012

In the United States, one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese, yet food and beverage companies continue to target them with advertising for products that contribute to this obesity crisis. When government restrictions on such advertising are proposed, the constitutional commercial speech doctrine is often invoked as a barrier to action. We explore incongruities between the legal justifications for the commercial speech doctrine and the psychological research on how food advertising affects young people. A proper interpretation of the First Amendment should leave room for regulations to protect young people from advertising featuring caloriedense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages.

Patel A.I.,University of California at San Francisco | Patel A.I.,Philip R Lee Institute For Health Policy Studies | Hampton K.E.,Public Health Law and Policy
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2011

Children and adolescents are not consuming enough water, instead opting for sugar-sweetened beverages (sodas, sports and energy drinks, milks, coffees, and fruit-flavored drinks with added sugars), 100% fruit juice, and other beverages. Drinking sufficient amounts of water can lead to improved weight status, reduced dental caries and improved cognition among children and adolescents. Because children spend most of their day at school and in child care, ensuring that safe, potable drinking water is available in these settings is a fundamental public health measure. We sought to identify challenges that limit access to drinking water; opportunities, including promising practices, to increase drinking water availability and consumption; and future research, policy efforts, and funding needed in this area.

The article examines potential legal challenges to state and local government local purchase preferences. When states or local governments use funds awarded pursuant to federal programs to procure goods or services, they must comply with the federal laws and regulations governing those programs. State and local governments often receive funding under other federal grant programs, some of which could be used to procure food. The states and local governments then expend these funds according to the program requirements. If those programs expressly allow for a geographic preference, the state and local entities may expend those funds. If not, the question arises whether a geographic preference is consistent with the competitive procurement required under federal law. One of the most common challenges to in-state preference laws is made under the Dormant Commerce Clause. The US Constitution grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce.

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