The Context for Government Regulation of Obesity Around the Globe: Implications for Global Policy Action



Introduction: Governments have many “whys” and “hows” to address obesity. While there are similarities, the “why,” “how,” “what,” and “who” behind action are strongly influenced by context, the importance of which is critical for international policy understanding of governmental obesity regulation. Context for Government to Address Obesity & Regulating through Law: Context, e.g., health system and political structure, affects government authority and motivation to address obesity. This snapshot highlights key contextual features to ground law's role in addressing obesity. Comparison of Common Government Approaches to Obesity: Two leading approaches — information and economic incentives — are featured, and major developments shared. Trends and themes emerge, notably the prominence of economic incentives (but divergent uses and targets), and the necessity of incremental strategies. Conclusion and Policy Implications: Contextual complexity cautions against drawing the wrong conclusions: what works in one place may not simply transfer and work in another. And yet, comparative analysis can strengthen the search for transnational measures of policy effectiveness (e.g., equity) and inform discussion of next steps to confront obesity in a diverse but interconnected global society.