Professor Roger Magnusson’s published work has reviewed legal strategies for obesity prevention and public health nutrition.
Some of his work in these areas is broad (eg legal responses to obesity, or to cancer; or future options for tobacco control), while some focuses on specific strategies (eg food labelling).
However, all of his research area seeks to address misconceptions about law, to identify challenges to effective regulatory reforms, and to engage in the debate about the merits of regulation.
His approach to regulation prioritises interventions that will help to create an environment that better supports healthy choices and lifestyles, rather than legal interventions that target high-risk individuals, or that seek to achieve their goals through incentives or punishments that apply to individuals. His current research focuses on several streams.
At the national level he has developed and is finessing a model for explaining how law and regulation might feature in an effective response to non-communicable diseases and their risk factors, including tobacco use, obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity and harmful use of alcohol. To develop a better appreciation of regulatory context and options he is also researching examples of how different countries (with their different legal contexts) are responding in each area.
At the global level, he is seeking to conceptualise why non-communicable diseases merit a global response, what that means and what some of the challenges and issues are that need to be addressed at the trans-national level.
Roger Magnusson on the new centre:
“Health policy experts often say that an effective response to obesity, diabetes and other diseases that share behavioural risk factors requires a new way of ‘doing policy’. Governments need to think in new ways: to create structures that will ensure that disease prevention begins to inform policy-making in sectors and settings beyond health, for example, in transport, agriculture, the workplace, schools, and economic policy.
“The University of Sydney’s new centre takes this message and applies it to the university. The silos must come down. Academic work within the Centre needs to be open to scrutiny from other disciplines. We need to actively collaborate with others who don’t necessarily share our academic background or the assumptions (and prejudices) and the field of vision that we take on within our primary field of work.
“As with a multi-sectoral approach to policy-making, the centre’s multidisciplinary approach to academic research has the potential to bring new insights and new knowledge we wouldn’t have uncovered if working alone.”