Monthly Archives: October 2013

National and International Strategies to Counter the Global Obesity Epidemic

Georgetown Professor (and past Visiting Professor at UC Hastings) Allyn Taylor, JD, LLM, JSD will discuss National and International Strategies to Counter the Global Obesity Epidemic. Please RSVP here.

About the Event:

It is widely recognized that the world is now in the midst of a globalized obesity epidemic.  Where obesity was once considered a public health concern confined to high-income countries, over the past quarter-century overweight and obesity has spread rapidly to low and middle-income countries. The massive growth in obesity is having an enormously significant impact on global health trends, placing people around the world at greater risk of a range of health problems, especially non-communicable diseases (NCDS), including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic ailments. Today, NCDs are at the top of the global public health agenda with widespread calls for vastly strengthened national and international regulatory action. However, while there has been much discussion of alternative national and international strategies, there is a yawning gap in comprehensive research and analysis of existing national responses directed toward the drivers of obesity

The article presented during the first part of this colloquium, The Increasing Weight of Regulation: Countries Combat the Obesity Epidemic,* takes a much needed initial step to fill the existing research void by surveying recent trends in obesity-related legislation that has been adopted and implemented in countries worldwide. As the article describes, the last decade has seen an unprecedented evolution in the policy environment, with more countries, including both high and low-income states, implementing legal strategies to address the drivers of obesity. These legal strategies adopted in almost 60 countries include the deepening of existing legislation and widening of the scope of regulatory interventions.

 In response to rising public concern about global obesity trends, there have been a number of proposals in the last several years calling for new frameworks to address the obesity epidemic. These proposals can roughly be divided into three categories. First, some scholars as well as industry representatives have continued to urge for traditional voluntary approaches and strengthened partnerships between industry and governments. Second, a number of commentators have specifically called for a framework convention on obesity. Finally, a number of commentators, including civil society organizations, have proposed the elaboration of an international code of practice on the marketing of unhealthy food and non-alcoholic beverages to children.  During the second part of the colloquium, the attached article will be used as a foundation to provide a rigorous analysis of the pros and cons of these three proposals and to propose an alternative and innovative global regulatory strategy to address the rising global burden of NCDs.

* A. Taylor, E. Parento, L. Schmidt, The Increasing Weight of Regulation: Countries Combat the Obesity Epidemic (submitted for publication, August 2013).

Consortium Grand Rounds: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies

Award-winning writer and author Miriam Zoll will be speaking about her new expose, Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies (Interlink - June 2013). Her presentation will address the myriad of personal, bioethical, women's health and human rights concerns associated with reproductive technologies in the U.S. and abroad. 

Snacks will be provided so please RSVP here by Monday, October 14th. 

About the Speaker
Miriam Zoll is an award-winning author of the new memoir/expose, Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies (Interlink-June 2013). She is a writer, educator and advocate with more than two decades of experience in the reproductive health and international public policy arena.  The founding co-producer of the Ms. Foundation for Women’s original “Take Our Daughters To Work Day”, she is a current member of the boards of Our Bodies Ourselves and Voice Male Magazine. A 2005 MIT Research Fellow, she has worked for such global institutions as the United Nations, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Planned Parenthood, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the International Women’s Health Coalition. Her writing has been published by the New York Times, the Atlantic, Slate, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Royal Tropical Institute, among other venues.  For more information go to: