Laws begin as ideas. These ideas are researched and subsequently written into bills. Upon approval by the House of Representatives, the Senate and the president, bills are signed into law. The preceding sentences make the conversion of an idea into a law sound rather simple, but the process required for an idea to be transformed into a law is anything but simple.
Ideas can begin with ordinary citizens. Citizens with ideas contact their Representative for further discussion. If the Representative is intrigued by the idea, they research the idea. If the findings of their research show a potential future, Representatives write the ideas into bills.
The Fit for LIFE Act of 2011, is a comprehensive bill addressing many of the root causes of childhood obesity. It is the most current piece of federal legislation whose primary target is obesity and its determinants. The act also known as H.R.2795, was introduced by Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) in an attempt to increase access to healthy foods by alleviating food deserts, especially in underserved communities, and incentivizing exercise, as well as decreasing the rate of hunger.(Fud) This piece of legislation was brought to public agenda primarily through bureaucratic diligence. Initially introduced on October 5, 2010 as Fit for L.I.F.E. (HR 6258), the bill failed to pass the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, Ways and Means and others on January 6, 2011. Determined to not have that be the end all, the bill was revamped, revised and reintroduced by Congresswoman Fudge on August 5, 2011.
According to the Library of Congress, there are currently ten pieces of federal obesity legislation (H.R.2795, H.R.3291, H.RES.68, H.RES.339, H.RES.342, S.174, S.481, S.2119, S.RES.97, and S.RES.173) that have been referred to various subcommittees and committees in the House and Senate.
States with Active Obesity Laws
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity listed four states (California, Massachusetts, Michigan and South Carolina) and the District of Columbia (DC) as having enacted laws to combat obesity. Councilman Jack Evan (D) of the District of Columbia initiated the most comprehensive of the bills. Bill DC LB 34 was put forward to establish a Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Nutrition. Signed into law on October 14, 2011 by Mayor Vincent C. Gray, this law “would promote physical fitness, health and nutrition of residents from infancy through senior citizens via recreational and workplace wellness programs.”(Yale). The enacted laws of the remaining states were more focused. California focused on nutrition education for medical professionals in bill CA SB 380 (Yale). With bill MI HRes 65, Michigan declared the week of April 18 - 24, 2011, as Screen-Free Week. Screen-Free Week was introduced as an innovative method to improve children’s well-being by reducing their dependence on entertainment screen media, thus offering time to go...