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University of Miami Business Law Review

Article Title

How Growing Legislation Geared Towards Restricting America's Expanding Waist Lines is Restricting Consumer Choice

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This note serves as a commentary on the evolution of government involvement in traditionally private consumer choice decisions in the government's efforts to battle the obesity epidemic. For adults, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Currently more than 33% of adults and 17% of children are considered obese. Heightened regulations on food services implemented by city, state, and federal governments in order to combat obesity are creating an increasingly complex regulatory environment, potentially harming business, commerce, and consumer choice.

In this commentary, Part II will discuss how the government has historically addressed the dietary health of its citizens and how past regulations have formed the legal basis for more restrictive government food regulations today. Part III will focus on one of the most modern and controversial pieces of proposed health legislation, the New York City soda ban, and analyze the constitutional arguments for and against the ban that will impact future government action across the country. Part IV will discuss additional legal, economic, and social consequences of food regulations restricting citizens' dietary choices at the federal, state, and local levels. Finally, Part V concludes by addressing the potential impact the New York City soda ban decision will have on the future regulatory environment in combatting the obesity epidemic.

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