Fire Regulations

Regulating Obesity: Three Big Questions

Regulating ObesityAttempts at regulating obesity — changing obesity’s prevalence through legal and regulatory action — have been pretty dismal failures to date. In his unique, complete examination of this subject — Regulating Obesity — law professor Bill Bogart asks some critical questions for understanding these failures and developing better strategies.

  1. Why have efforts largely failed? Bogart thoroughly examines the limitations of legal remedies for obesity and states rather succinctly that “we can’t regulate obesity any more than we can alcoholism or drug addiction.” In other words, much of the dialogue about policies to address obesity are hopelessly unrealistic.
  2. What should obesity policy goals be? Bogart’s central thesis is that policy goals must move away from a preoccupation with weight and toward a focus upon health and health equity.
  3. Can the law serve to reduce the burden of obesity? Bogart argues that policies focusing on health rather than weight can be successful, but only with a careful and honest process of trial and error.

Regulating Obesity provides a concise examination of public policy intended to address obesity. Because Bogart is forthright about the complexity of obesity and legal strategies for addressing it, he is offering a perspective that is sadly lacking from much of the policy dialogue about obesity. It’s a perspective that some people don’t want to hear.

But if you are serious about health policy and one of the biggest threats to health for this century, this book is well worth your time.

Click here for more information on Regulating Obesity. Click here for more from the Washington Post on the complexity of obesity.

Fire Regulations, photograph © pwbaker / flickr

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2 Responses to “Regulating Obesity: Three Big Questions”

  1. May 28, 2015 at 6:53 am, Joe Gitchell said:

    Oh, great, yet another book to add to the list of books I need to read but haven’t yet….but I will try!


    • May 28, 2015 at 8:17 am, Ted said:

      It’s well worth it, Joe. I appreciate the disciplined thinking that a good lawyer brings to a complex subject like obesity.

      Disclosure: With two sons who are lawyers, I may have a bias.