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Since the 1980s, there has been an alarming increase in the prevalence of obesity in virtually every country in the world. As obesity is known to lead to both chronic and severe medical problems, it imposes a cost not only on affected individuals and their families, but also on society as a whole. In Europe, the Obesity Prevention White Paper of May 2007 – followed by the adoption of an EU School Fruit Scheme, the acknowledgement that food advertising to children should be limited, and proposed legislation to make nutrition labeling compulsory – has firmly placed obesity on the EU agenda by laying down a multi-sectoral strategy and a basis for future action.
In accordance with this growing sense of urgency, this is the first book to offer an in-depth legal analysis of obesity prevention, with particular reference to Europe. It describes what the EU has done and could do to support Member States in fighting the obesity epidemic, and clearly shows the way to locating advocacy strategies within the framework of EU law.
The author convincingly shows that conflicts of interest inherent in market forces demand a strong EU intervention, preferably through legislation than self-regulation. She also demonstrates the urgent need to reach an agreement, on the basis of reliable data, about what is effective in practice to improve lifestyles.
The study acknowledges that the law is not a panacea, but nonetheless has an influential role to play in making the healthy choice an easier choice, and must move decisively towards ensuring that the societal costs associated with obesity are sustainable, and that the ultimate goal of a healthy population is achievable. The book is essential reading for everyone involved or interested in the development of the EU’s obesity prevention policy.