Regulating Food Retail for Obesity Prevention: How Far Can Cities Go?
5 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2011 Last revised: 28 Apr 2015
Date Written: February 15, 2011
Cities and counties have emerged as leaders in combating the United States’ obesity epidemic, adopting measures like requiring calorie postings on menu boards and providing financial incentives to full-service grocery stores. Public health advocacy groups have proposed additional policies designed to stem the rising tide of obesity. This article surveys these leading policy proposals and assesses whether local jurisdictions have the legal authority to enact them. In analyzing local authority, the article considers whether cities enjoy “home rule” as well as the potential effect of preemption by state law. The article concludes that in most states there is solid legal authority for cities and counties to adopt obesity-prevention strategies.
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