Assessing Competencies for Obesity Prevention and Control
The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics Volume 37, Issue Supplement s1, pages 37-44, Summer 2009
9 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012 Last revised: 25 May 2013
Date Written: June 3, 2009
Because law has pervasive effects on the social and physical environment, a comprehensive strategy to prevent and control obesity must include a strategy that insures all relevant actors have adequate understanding of and “competency” in law. Competency in the use of laws and legal authorities is one of the four core elements of public health legal preparedness. Public health practitioners, legal counsel, health care providers and others need to be able to assess current and proposed laws on obesity risk factors and make effective use of laws as specific obesity prevention and control tools. This paper assesses public health legal competency from both sides: 1) the ability of public health and setting-specific actors to understand and apply relevant laws including knowledge of the consequences of action and inaction; and 2) the ability of policy makers and legal counsel to understand and take into account the potential obesogenic effects of their decisions.
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