Legal action against health claims on foods and beverages marketed to youth

Lainie Rutkow, Jon S. Vernick, Danielle M. Edwards, Sarah O. Rodman, Colleen L. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of obesity among US children raises numerous health concerns. One pathway to reduce childhood obesity is by decreasing energy intake through the ingestion of fewer calories. Yet, food and beverage manufacturers often promote energydense items for children via varied health claims.

Deceptive health claims are prohibited, and may be addressed through litigation or governmental regulatory efforts. While the amount of legal action against these potentially deceptive claims has increased, no comprehensive assessment has been conducted.

This article, which analyzes litigation and governmental regulatory activities, considers key factors that may influence decisions to take legal action against potentially deceptive health claims on foods and beverages, including scientific support, forum selection, selection of plaintiffs, and potential public health impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-456
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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