Report at a Glance
Because strong evidence indicates that policies beyond the health sector have substantial effects on people’s health, all levels of U.S. government should adopt a structured approach to considering the health effects of any major legislation or regulation, says a new report by the IOM. In addition, federal and state policymakers should review and revise public health laws so that they adequately address current health challenges.
”The law has been an essential factor for improving the public’s health through policies such as decreasing tobacco use, increasing road safety, and ensuring the greater healthfulness of our food and water,” said Marthe Gold, chair of the committee that wrote the report and Arthur C. Logan Professor and Chair of Community Health and Social Medicine, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City College of New York, New York City. “Our report recommends several actions that will ensure that federal, state, and local public health agencies make full use of a broad array of proven legal tools that can improve population health.”