Northeastern University School of Law Hosts 5th Annual Conference on Public Health, Law and Obesity

September 15, 2008

International scholars, policy experts on obesity to establish recommendations for next President to deal with nation's No. 1 health issue

Public health officials, scholars, and legal experts from the United States and Europe will join together at Northeastern University on September 19-21 to hammer out recommendations for the nation’s first comprehensive national anti-obesity program as part of the 5th Annual Conference on Public Health, Law and Obesity.

Some 25 of the leading experts will participate in the three-day event organized and hosted by the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) of Northeastern University School of Law.

The conference – “A Time for Action: An Obesity Agenda for the Next Administration” – will address a series of broad issues designed to reverse an epidemic deemed to be the number one public health issue facing the nation.

"Simply relying on individual approaches to the problem such as encouraging exercise and weight loss is not nearly enough and does little to address the costs of the obesity crisis in terms of lives, productivity, and medical expenses,” said Richard Daynard, Northeastern University law professor and PHAI president. “A coherent national policy must be established.”

Daynard said research shows that 49 states have adult obesity rates running over 20%, not one single state has witnessed a decline in obesity, and 23 million children are now overweight or obese.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of American children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes if current trends continue.

Among the issues to be addressed at the conference:

• Economic and social aspects of dietary behavior

• Farm bill and its implications for food reform

• Significance of disparity issues

• Food marketing and potential regulatory strategies

• Menu labeling

• Regulatory solutions to increase physical activity

• Allocating policy focus between childhood and adult obesity

The results of the conference discussions will be disseminated in a report to the transition team of the next administration in hopes that America’s 44th President will provide leadership in dealing with the obesity crisis, Daynard said.

The conference program and registration information is available at http://www.phaionline.org.

About the Public Health Advocacy Institute

The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at Northeastern University’s School of Law is a legal research center focused on public health law. PHAI’s goal is to support and enhance a commitment to public health in individuals and institutes who shape public policy through law. PHAI is committed to research in public health law, public health policy development; to legal technical assistance; and to collaborative work at the intersection of law and public health.

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university's distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit http://www.northeastern.edu.

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