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J Law Med Ethics. 2007 Spring;35(1):138-47.

Local venues for change: legal strategies for healthy environments.

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Public Health Law Program (PHLP).


Mounting evidence documents the extraordinary toll on human health resulting from the consumption of unhealthy food products and physical inactivity. In response to America's growing obesity problem, local policymakers have been looking for legal strategies that can be adopted in their communities to encourage healthful behaviors. In order to provide practical tools to policymakers, this article examines four possible venues for local policy change to improve the health of a community: (1) the school environment (2) the built environment (3) community facilities and (4) the point of sale environment. Finally, the article examines the use of taxes or fees as a means of paying for nutrition policy work as well as potentially reducing the consumption of unhealthy products. This article illustrates that local laws and policies can be a valuable tool in changing a community's environment in order to improve nutritional options and increase opportunities for physical activity.

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