Stimatisation as a Public Health Tool Against Obesity – University of Copenhagen

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03 September 2014

Stimatisation as a Public Health Tool Against Obesity

In "Stigmatisation as a Public Health Tool against Obesity - A Health and Human Rights Perspective", which is published in European Journal of Health Law, Mette Hartlev makes a critical analysis of use of stigma as a public health tool. The right to health is recognised in human rights law and it imposes a duty on governments to put in place a system of health protection making it possible for individuals to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. However, disease patterns are changing, and increasing more attention is being paid to so-called lifestyle diseases. Individuals may expose themselves to health threats due to personal choices like eating and smoking habits, and this raises the issue of the individual’s obligation with regard to ill health. Hence, is there not only a right to health but also a duty to be healthy? Using obesity as an example, and based on a cross-disciplinary research, Mette Hartlev analyses selected European and national public health policy papers to see how individual rights and duties are framed and to analyse the use of stigmatisation as a public-health strategy from a health and human rights perspective.

The article is published in European Journal of Health Law 21 (2014), pp. 365-386.

Information about the the research project Governing Obesity is available here:

Information about the research project Food, Fitness and Pharma is available here: