Identifying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Obesity for States and Civil Society

D. Patterson, K. Buse, R. Magnusson, B. Toebes, "Identifying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Obesity for States and Civil Society", Obesity Reviews, 2019, pp. 1-12

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. #19/45

University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 40/2019

31 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2019 Last revised: 16 Oct 2019

See all articles by David Patterson

David Patterson

Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre

Kent Buse

UNAIDS

Roger Magnusson

The University of Sydney Law School

Brigit Toebes

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 28, 2019

Abstract

Obesity and its comorbidities pose daunting challenges to global health and development in the 21st century. This paper reviews some commonalities between obesity and another global health challenge, the pandemic of human immunodeficiencyvirus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). International human rights law was an important catalyst for civil society movements that helped to overcome inertia and generate political will for State action in response to HIV and AIDS. Drawing on the HIV experience, the authors propose a conceptual model for a human rights-based response to obesity founded on the twin pillars of State obligations and civil society engagement. Framing States' obligations to address the global obesity pandemic as a matter of international law, informed by the examples of the United Nations “International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights” and the General Comments of the United Nations human rights treaty bodies on HIV and AIDS, provides a normative framework to guide State actions and opportunities to engage the extensive accountability mechanisms of the United Nations international human rights system. In addition, it provides civil society organizations with the language and tools to demand State action on obesity. The authors call for similar authoritative guidance for States on the application of international human rights law to obesity.

Keywords: civil society, HIV, human rights, law, obesity

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32, I18

Suggested Citation

Patterson, David and Buse, Kent and Magnusson, Roger and Toebes, Brigit, Identifying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Obesity for States and Civil Society (August 28, 2019). D. Patterson, K. Buse, R. Magnusson, B. Toebes, "Identifying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Obesity for States and Civil Society", Obesity Reviews, 2019, pp. 1-12 , Sydney Law School Research Paper No. #19/45, University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 40/2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3422522

David Patterson

Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre ( email )

9700 AS Groningen
Netherlands

Kent Buse

UNAIDS ( email )

Geneva
Switzerland

Roger Magnusson (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Brigit Toebes

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law ( email )

9700 AH Groningen
Netherlands

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