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Growing number of state laws limit local government control over food and nutrition

November 20, 2018

EurekAlert! Science News,

Jennifer Pomeranz,

November 19, 2018-

In recent years, more than a dozen states have passed laws limiting local governments’ ability to create food and nutrition policies and more than two dozen states previously enacted laws preventing obesity-related lawsuits against food businesses, finds a new analysis led by NYU College of Global Public Health. These laws are examples of preemption, a legal mechanism in which a higher level of government withdraws or limits the ability of a lower level of government to act on an issue.

The study, published online in theĀ American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first to track state preemption of local food and nutrition policies and litigation–and documents a growing, industry-influenced trend to thwart public health efforts. “Local governments are in a prime position to address public health issues, such as reducing health disparities, providing nutrition information and access to healthy food, and regulating the cost of unhealthy food. Unfortunately, state preemption hinders public health progress by impeding local food and nutrition policies and government-initiated litigation,” said Jennifer L. Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management at NYU College of Global Public Health and the study’s lead author.

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