Curriculum Guide · Courses
Law and Healthy Lifestyles
Professor Roger Magnusson
LL.M Seminar 915 (cross-listed) | 1 credit hours
This course is about legal responses to tobacco use, obesity, poor diet, alcohol abuse and sedentary lifestyle – the leading causes of preventable disease in the United States, high-income countries, and increasingly, also in developing economies. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and tobacco-related diseases (known as “non-communicable diseases” or NCDs) are society’s greatest killers, but what can law do – and what should it be doing – to prevent and control them? Although law’s relationship with the behavioural risk factors for NCDs is complex and contested, governments around the world are experimenting with a wide range of legal strategies to prevent their impact and to create healthier societies. This unit places U.S. developments in an international context, and offers frequent comparisons with legal strategies for encouraging healthier lifestyles in Australia, and other countries. The aim of this course is to equip students with the conceptual skills to think powerfully about law’s role in the prevention of NCDs, and to participate effectively in debates about appropriate, workable, legal interventions. During the course, we will confront some important over-arching questions. What are the global determinants of NCDs, and to what extent are global solutions needed? To what extent should law intervene to influence the average behaviours of populations – as distinct from treating lifestyle risk factors as the personal responsibility of each individual? Does a regulatory approach to the prevention of NCDs imply coercion, and does it signal the emergence of the “nanny state”? Does progress necessarily depend on motivating people to consciously improve their habits and lifestyles? The deeper goal of this course is to nudge public health law in a new direction, so that it becomes meaningful to discuss legal and regulatory responses to cancer, heart disease and diabetes, rather than just the relationship between law and specific risk factors. Evaluation will be based on a research paper.
WEEK ONE COURSE. This seminar will meet for one week only, on the following days: Monday, January 6, 2014, through Friday, January 10, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This course is mandatory pass/fail and will count toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit for J.D. students. Note: Attendance at all class sessions is mandatory and all enrolled students must attend the first class in order to remain enrolled. Students on the wait list must attend the first class in order to be admitted off the wait list. Enrolled students will have until Monday, January 6, 2014, 5:00 p.m. to drop this course.