At the request of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the IOM reviewed how statutes and regulations prevent injury and disease, save lives, and improve the health of the population. The IOM examined the legal and regulatory authority for public health activities, identified past efforts to develop model public health legislation, and described the implications of the changing social and policy context for public health laws and regulations. The IOM finds that public health law, much of which was enacted in different eras when communicable diseases were the primary population health threats, warrant systematic review and revision. In addition, the IOM urges government agencies to familiarize themselves with the public health and policy interventions at their disposal that can influence behavior and more importantly change conditions—social, economic, and environmental—to improve health. Lastly, the IOM encourages government and private sector stakeholders to consider health in a wide range of policies and to evaluate the health effects and costs of major legislation.
This report is part of a three-part series requested by RWJF to address major topics in public health. Collectively, the series will offer guideposts on the journey to becoming a healthier nation.
Source: Institute of Medicine, the National Academies
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