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Reviews on Environmental Health

Editor-in-Chief: Carpenter, David O. / Sly, Peter

Editorial Board Member: Brugge, Doug / Diaz-Barriga, Fernando / Edwards, John W. / Field, R.William / Hales, Simon / Horowitz, Michal / Maibach, H.I. / Shaw, Susan / Stein, Renato / Tao, Shu / Tchounwou, Paul B.

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Combating childhood obesity: a survey of laws affecting the built environments of low-income and minority children

Raymond Lindholm
  • Georgia State University College of Law , Center for Health, Law, and Society, Atlanta, GA , USA
  • :
Published Online: 2011-07-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh.2011.023


Childhood overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions, with nearly one of every three children in the USA being affected. That factors in the built environment are closely correlated to childhood obesity has become increasingly evident. Negative built environment factors disproportionately affect poor and minority children. This paper examines the current research on the state of childhood overweight and obesity and surveys the built environment factors that have been linked to the problem. Analyzing the built environment from a legal perspective, this paper identifies how zoning, legislation, public/private partnerships, and contracts are being used at the local, state, and federal levels to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity. Using these tools, local, state, and federal government agencies are increasing access to healthy food, decreasing the density of unhealthy food sources, and increasing physical activity resources for children. Whereas some of the programs are geared toward minority and low-income children, many apply to children across the socioeconomic and demographic spectrum.

Keywords: childhood obesity; joint-use agreements; laws; legislation; overweight; supermarket; urban garden; zoning

Corresponding author: Raymond Lindholm, JD, Georgia State University College of Law, Center for Health, Law and Society, PO Box 4037, Atlanta, GA 30303-3047, USA

Received: 2011-11-20

Accepted: 2011-02-20

Published Online: 2011-07-12

Published Online: 2011-02-20

Published in Print: 2011-09-01

Citation Information: Reviews on Environmental Health. Volume 26, Issue 3, Pages 155–167, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh.2011.023, July 2011

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