Research Handbook on Global Health Law
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Research Handbook on Global Health Law

Edited by Gian Luca Burci and Brigit Toebes

The effect of Globalization on health has attracted the attention of scholars and policy makers across multiple disciplines. A key concern is the regulation of international health protection, and in particular the use of international health instruments and the complex interaction between international law and health considerations. For the first time, a group of law and policy scholars have analysed these issues, drawing on knowledge from their respective fields. The resulting book provides comprehensive coverage of contemporary issues in global health law and governance.
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Chapter 14: Global health law and obesity: towards a complementary approach of public health and human rights law

Katharina Ó Cathaoir, Mette Hartlev and Céline Brassart Olsen


This chapter explores the role of global health law in combating the transnational drivers of obesity. It asserts that greater interaction between international public health and human rights law could ensure a more robust approach. The chapter details the approach of the World Health Organization (WHO) to obesity prevention, as well as States’ obligations under the rights to health and adequate food. States’ obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are also explored. It is asserted that human rights law strengthens and legalises the public health measures recommended by the World Health Organization. Furthermore, the chapter explores the limitations on the scope of human rights obligations, including an analysis of stigmatisation and discrimination of persons with obesity. States’ competing obligations under international trade law and European Union (EU) free movement law are also introduced. In light of these challenges, we argue that public health and human rights approaches must be concretised.

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