Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 141–151

Public health policy, evidence, and causation: lessons from the studies on obesity

Scientific Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s11019-011-9335-y

Cite this article as:
Russo, F. Med Health Care and Philos (2012) 15: 141. doi:10.1007/s11019-011-9335-y


The paper addresses the question of how different types of evidence ought to inform public health policy. By analysing case studies on obesity, the paper draws lessons about the different roles that different types of evidence play in setting up public health policies. More specifically, it is argued that evidence of difference-making supports considerations about ‘what works for whom in what circumstances’, and that evidence of mechanisms provides information about the ‘causal pathways’ to intervene upon.


CausationDisease causationEvidenceEvidence-based public healthObesityPublic health policy

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy—SECLUniversity of KentCanterburyUK