Laura Brennan, Ross Brownson and Tracey Orleans have come out with an important paper reviewing the evidence on policy and environmental strategies for reducing childhood obesity. Twenty-four strategies and 2000 published and gray literature documents are covered. This is a menu of more-or-less evidence backed ideas for intervention.
Sam Harper and colleagues come out with an interesting new argument for primary seat belt laws, based on a disparities analysis. Looking through the lens of education level, they (well, we, since I am one of the authors) find that, while primary enforcement has a powerful affect at every educational level, the impact is greater on people with less education. Thus, existing SES differentials in seat belt use could be reduced if all states (finally) went to primary enforcement.
Even kids like paternalism? Well, that may not be the best interpretation of this next study. Williams and McCartt surveyed New Jersey teenagers about three GDL requirements that are unique to that state: minimum licensing age of 17; application of full GDL rules to beginners younger than 21; and requiring license status decals on vehicle plates of GDL drivers. 84% liked licensing at 17, and 77% approved applying Gthe rules even to older novices. The decal policy was approved by only 23% — but a PHLR study showed it works, so I say get used to it.
Two new tobacco law studies round out the week’s harvest. Heikki et al. map the diffusion of health warning regulations since 1966, showing a big impact of the FCTC. Finally, in a paper that may start some arguments, Kevin Callison and Robert Kaestner report that adult smokers may not be as responsive to cigarette taxes as many believe. They suggest it will take increases on the order of 100% to get a further 5% reduction in smoking rates. Well, I’m okay with that.
Over on the George side of things, Peter Jacobson and Wendy Parmet have posted a thoughtful response to Larry Gostin’s Bloomberg commentary in the Hastings Center Report. They are helping us move away from a habitual application of the paternalism critique and reminding us that public health can play in the democracy sandbox pretty well.