To read this document, sign up for free access to our entire library

By joining the ChangeLab Solutions community, you'll get access to all our law & policy resources. And we'll notify you when we release a new tool related to your sector or area of interest.

Combating Obesity Through Regulation of Advertising

The new first amendment & its implications

Food & Beverages

For at least three generations, Americans have taken for granted that the government may pass laws governing food and product safety, truth in advertising, and other important features of modern life.

But today, policies that would have seemed unremarkable in the past are facing constitutional challenges. This is because large corporations are claiming the First Amendment as a defense against governmental intervention in commercial activity.

Written by attorneys Samantha Graff and Tamara Piety and published in Advances in Communication Research to Reduce Childhood Obesity*, this report explores signifi­cant First Amendment obstacles to addressing childhood obesity through government restrictions on marketing.

The New First Amendment and Its Implications for Combating Obesity Through Regulation of Advertising provides an overview of how courts evaluate the constitutionality of laws regulating commercial speech, and shows how recent Supreme Court decisions have made it increasingly difficult for government to enact policy initiatives aimed at protecting children and public health. 


*Williams, Jerome D., Keryn E. Pasch, and Chiquita A. Collins, eds. Advances in communication research to reduce childhood obesity. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.