Article Critique

Critical Literature Review
Chopra, M., Galbraith, S., and Darnton-Hill, A. 2002. A Global Response to a Global Problem The Epidemic of Overnutrition, Bulletin of the World Health Organization 80, (12), 952-957.
Gostin, L.O.  2007. Law as a Tool to Facilitate Healthier Lifestyles and Prevent Obesity, Journal of American Medical Association 297, (1), 88-90.

Non-communicable diseases will soon be the leading causes of morbidity and mortality (Chopra, Galbraith, and Darnton-Hill 2002 952). This disease, which includes obesity and being overweight, should no longer be ignored, because of their harmful impacts on individual health and state medical expenses, aside from loss of productivity. Global Response to a Global Problem, by Chopra, Galbraith, and Darnton-Hill, argues for national and international mechanisms that can respond to the problems of overnutrition and undernutrition. Law as a Tool to Facilitate Healthier Lifestyles and Prevent Obesity by Gostin, on the other hand, stresses that the law can be effectively used to resolve problems of obesity and being overweight.  These articles indicate the importance of national and international binding and non-binding laws in curbing the immense appetite of many people for unhealthy foods.

Summary 1
Chopra, Galbraith, and Darnton-Hill (2002) argue that the obesogenic environment can be changed through legislation, public education, and proper marketing, under the guidance of the WHO and with the support of local governments (953). They cited national intervention programs that aimed to reduce non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and obesity. They argued for the importance of a global strategy as a prevention paradigm, through the leadership of the WHO. They also called for a stronger, but non-binding involvement of the state in educating the people about the impact of food ingredients on their health through clear food labeling, marketing controls for unhealthy foods, and taxing unhealthy food choices, among other policies. They stressed the magnitude of non-binding laws over binding laws, because the former are more flexible and can involve multisectoral participation, although their greatest limitation is their non-binding status. The authors conclude that the strength of organized food industries can hinder the pursuance of their recommendations and they assert that this can be resolved through collaboration and innovation from all concerned parties.

Summary 2
Gostin (2007), on the other hand, strongly argues for lawmakers to adopt a paternalistic approach in preventing and reducing obesity rates. He examines the pros and cons of each legislative measure that he discusses, namely disclosure, surveillance, regulation of food marketing to children and adults, taxation, school and workplace policies, the built environment zoning, and food prohibitions (i.e. trans fat ban). He provides a table that contains an overview of each legislative measure, definition of these measures, public health benefits, and the arguments for and against these public policies. He advocates for many of these legal interventions through stressing their function in protecting national health, especially the health and lives of children. He believes that it is the responsibility of the government to build healthier communities, where people have more opportunities to pursue an active lifestyle and have greater access to inexpensive and healthier food options.

This article is useful because it offers practical national and international measures that can prevent non-communicable diseases. On other hand, it does not discuss a more concrete and step-by-step framework for the suggestions provided. The article also comprehensively discusses prevention strategies, binding and non-binding legal arguments, and international instruments. However, there is lack of more in-depth discussion of the arguments of the authors for non-binding laws, in a way that readers would be truly convinced that they are better than binding laws. It is also hard to follow the flow of thought of the authors. There should be more specific transitions that guide their discussions and arguments.

Critique 2
This article is useful for people who want to support legislative measures for reducing obesity and other national epidemic non-communicable diseases. The arguments for and against each legal measure are explained in a simple and engaging manner. The author also uses persuasive and insightful language that supports the measures that he seem to favor more, such as taxation of unhealthy food and the built environment. The use of a table to summarize the legal interventions also helps to easily understand his main points. One weakness of the article is the absence of sector-based and additional forms of support for his personal views, wherein a survey, for instance, can show that many parents want greater school policies against unhealthy foods. These evidences should have helped strengthen the relevance and urgency of his arguments.

In conclusion, readers who want to understand the international and national measures that can prevent the increase of non-communicable diseases can use both articles for their review of literature. Chopra, Galbraith, and Darnton-Hill argue for national and international mechanisms that can respond to the problems of overnutrition and undernutrition, though not in a binding manner that Gostin supports.

Chopra, Galbraith, and Darnton-Hil explore these mechanisms adequately, although they are deficient in providing specific steps on how to achieve effective nonbinding measures. Gostin contends that legal measures can successfully lessen obesity, because evidently, the rising obesity rate shows that self-control is not enough. He shows that the government has a primary responsibility to step in and regulate the eating habits of its citizens, when national health, culture, and performance are at stake. These articles are informative and have diverse viewpoints, though they can be improved by providing particular steps and processes (existing or suggested) and other evidences that can prove that their arguments are relevant and critical to diverse stakeholders.


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