tional-quality foods, incentives or subsidies to make fruits and vegetables more available and affordable could be considered. French and colleagues (1997) reviewed the literature on the relationship between price and consumption of fruits and vegetables and found a consistent pattern, namely that lower prices are associated with higher consumption. In their own empirical work, these researchers found this same pattern among adolescents and found it to be robust across different age groups and food types.

As efforts progress in reducing tobacco use, concern has been expressed about the economic well-being of tobacco farmers and cigarette manufacturing workers and their communities. Similar concerns could be expressed if economic pressures were exerted on certain segments of the food production, manufacturing, and distribution systems.

The Legal and Regulatory Environment

Laws and regulations have become increasingly prominent and effective in improving the public health. Public health law has emerged as a strategic element in planning public health interventions (Goodman et al., 2003), and the IOM has identified law and policy as one of the eight emerging themes for the future of public health training (IOM, 2002). Laws and regulations seem to be one of the few common themes spanning multiple reports from the Ten Greatest Achievements in Public Health to The Guide to Community Preventive Services, and also appear to be an essential factor in successful health-related social movements. The following section discusses the importance of laws, regulations, and litigation.


Laws have played a critical role in the achievement of many public health accomplishments in the 20th century. Starting with infectious disease control, and moving to public health preparedness, the presence of laws has made the critical difference for public health authorities to safeguard the public health, and correspondingly, the absence of legal authority has consistently served as an impediment. Mensah and his colleagues (2004) reviewed the use of law as a tool for preventing chronic disease with particular attention to the impact of bans or restrictions on public smoking, laws on blood alcohol concentration, food fortification, and the FCTC. In addition to these examples, the public health literature is replete with examples of the use of laws to promote the public health.

With respect to laws related to preventing childhood obesity, there is little related federal legislation, other than efforts to provide liability protection to food and soft drink manufacturers. Therefore, most of the legislative initiatives have occurred at the state level. The Kansas Health Insti-

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