Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Chronic diseases account for 70% of all deaths in the US and cause major limitations in daily living for almost 1 out of 10 Americans or about 25 million people. Chronic diseases are often related to modifiable health risk behaviors that include lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, and environmental factors.
Governments at all levels are increasingly using law in novel ways to prevent chronic diseases, changing the environment to help people make healthy choices and avoid unhealthy behaviors that contribute to chronic disease. Legal strategies can help to support environmental changes to improve health.
These selected legal and policy resources should help public health practitioners, policy makers, and legal counsel as they explore and shape law and policy around nutrition, physical activity, and obesity.
Laws and Policies that Support the Reduction of Sodium in the Food Supply
The Public Health Law program collaborated with the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health promotion to develop a portfolio of resources on the use of law to reduce dietary sodium by states, localities, and territories. These resources cover state governments’ laws and policies related to dietary sodium and sodium intake in various populations by impacting
- Government procurement
- School foods
- Institutional settings
- Other policies related to nutritional labeling, public information, pricing strategies, and hospital and worksite settings
George A. Mensah, et al., Law as a tool for preventing chronic diseases: expanding the spectrum of effective public health strategies[PDF-354KB], Preventing Chronic Disease. 2004 Apr. Article discussing the important roles that laws have played in public health.