Research Paper Number
Too Fat for Society? William Bogart and 'Regulating Obesity? Government, Society and Questions of Health'
Regulation; Obesity; Governance; Vices; Health Outcomes; Role of Law; Government Policy; Health Policy
Law has a long history of regulating vices, however perceived or defined. Regulation of gambling, consumption of alcohol, and smoking are some examples of vices where recourse to legal regulation has and continues to happen. Obesity, fatness, and external physical appearance of persons is a "vice" that is increasingly under social and regulatory scrutiny. Professor Bogart looks at the role and effectiveness of law in promoting, encouraging, and achieving positive health outcomes for individuals. In doing so, he tackles the simple but improper and ineffective foci of regulation - individuals body weight, body size, and outward appearance. The lessons and insights drawn from this study are informative for attempts to regulate other areas of complex human action. In regulating a vice, we must be conscious of the way that the vice is defined and categorized. The shaping of the problem affects how the law may be employed in addressing the problem. Additionally, honesty about the propriety, limits, effectiveness, and unintended-consequences of the use of law must take a central position in the discussion. Bogart's approach in Regulating Obesity serves as a guide for legal scholars who engage with Law's role in addressing important and complex social and human problems. Real human lives and actual human experiences must take center-stage if legislators and legal scholars are to avoid the twin evils of common-sense reaction and ineffective/overzealous governmental interfere though law.
Ansari, Sas, "Too Fat for Society? William Bogart and 'Regulating Obesity? Government, Society and Questions of Health'" (2014). Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper Series. 14.
Subsequently published in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal.