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Should Governments Take Legislative Action to Enforce Nutrition, Physical Activity?

Posted: February 24, 2010

Wellness is a way of life for spas and spa-goers, and now some experts are calling for governmental influence on nutrition and physical activity, like a recent article from CMAJ weighing in on the issue for Canada.

Governments and experts are calling for action to combat the medical, economic and social costs of rising rates of preventable conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, states an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

To date, governments in Canada have taken little legislative action to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity. Legal uncertainties, ideological opposition, and questions of effectiveness have likely stalled the adoption of legislation aimed at promoting a healthier environment.

The personal and social harms associated with the growing number of chronic disease are, however, a matter of urgent public concern.

"Unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are resulting in an epidemic," write Nola M. Ries, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, and Dr. Barbara von Tigerstrom, Faculty of Law and School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan. "Chronic disease is now a major public health challenge. Governments and experts around the world are calling for concerted action, including legislative measures, to promote healthier nutrition and physical activity."