Good Lord! This lot presumes to equate food nannyism and tobacco terrorism with 19th Century sanitary reform. Talk about inflated sense of self-worth and importance!
If you draw a very long bow you can include tobacco control although if governments were at all serious about anything other than revenue-raising they’d simply ban tobacco and tobacco products. If it was really about health and harm-reduction alcohol does more damage to society and is a larger health cost than tobacco but following the disaster of the 18th Amendment governments are rightly leery of returning there. In fact smokers generally aren’t obese so the nannies may have brought some of the current “crises” onto society themselves. Nonetheless, here they are rabbiting on about regulating societal health:
Britain first enacted public health laws during the 19th century. They governed sanitation – piped drinking water and disposal of human wastes. This “sanitary reform” had a significant public health effect. In fact, in 2007 readers of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) voted these reforms the most important medical milestone since 1840.
With its focus on populations rather than individuals, law is a central aspect of public health practice. The experience of many other areas of public health – from smoking to infectious disease control – has also shown that informed legislative reform measures can be potent, equitable, and cost-effective.
Obesity-related chronic diseases account for 60% of preventable deaths in developed countries, and by 2020, they will account for 70% of deaths in developing countries. Despite this, we currently lack laws relating to obesity and chronic diseases. Tobacco control is a notable exception and we will consider the lessons we can learn from it below.
Environmental or structural changes are needed because education and treatment strategies are ill-suited to control obesity, and generally benefit those in higher socioeconomic brackets. So it’s unsurprising that we are increasingly hearing calls for regulatory approaches to address obesity and its attendant chronic diseases.