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Curbing the lifestyle disease pandemic: engaging in a transdisciplinary research agenda for effective interventions

Edited by: Brigit Toebes, Jitse van Dijk, Marlies Hesselman, Jochen Mierau

BMC International Health and Human Rights invites you to submit to our new thematic series: Curbing the lifestyle disease pandemic: engaging in transdisciplinary research agenda for effective interventions

This call for papers ties in with the Conference Law and Noncommunicable Diseases: The crosscutting role of law in NCD control and regulating risk factors that will be held in Groningen, the Netherlands, from 31 May-1 June 2018. Limited funds are available to invite authors to present their draft paper at the conference.

New Content ItemBy 2030, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will be the leading cause of death in every region in the world [1]. Much of the global NCD burden (40%) is linked to four “modifiable behavioral risk factors” that affect many countries: tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol [1]. In this context, there is an association between socio-economic inequalities and NCDs and these risk factors for NCDs [2]. The scale of the problem make NCDs a pandemic phenomenon that requires a powerful international and domestic response.

In a recent Debate piece published in this journal by Guest Editors Brigit Toebes, Jitse van Dijk and Marlies Hesselman, the authors identified a number of gaps in current research and called for an interdisciplinary research agenda between law and other disciplines aimed at designing concrete proposals for laws and policies to curb the NCD pandemic, both globally and domestically [3].

In this call for papers, we invite scholars from various health-related disciplines to submit a paper focusing on the identification of concrete solutions to the NCD pandemic. We welcome articles on the scientific evidence concerning behavioural risk factors, the effectiveness of interventions, as well as on the economic, societal, behavioural or demographic dimensions of the debate. Simultaneously, and in response to these scientific outcomes, we invite researchers with a background in international relations, philosophy, law and human rights to reflect on the concrete options for law and policy. To stimulate cross-fertilization between the various disciplines, we encourage researchers to move beyond their own discipline and to engage in a transdisciplinary collaboration with the ultimate aim of identifying effective interventions.

Below are examples of topics which may be addressed:

·          Evidence on the effectiveness of tax and other measures to curb the consumption of unhealthy products, and the translation to law and policy.

·          Evidence on the effectiveness of regulating risk factors on health outcomes (e.g. the effectiveness of periconceptional, perinatal, and early-life interventions), and the translation to law and policy.

·          Evidence on the socio-economic inequalities underlying the NCD pandemic and possible solutions targeting specific vulnerable groups.

·          Human rights approaches to socioeconomic inequality and vulnerability in relation to the NCD crisis.

·          Evidence on the political processes towards the adoption of laws and policies addressing unhealthy behaviour, as well as legal lifecycle approaches in NCD control.

·          Human rights approaches towards risk factors and access to NCD treatment.

·          The normative justification of behavioural health measures and possible ethical constraints, such as rights, anti-paternalism and autonomy.

·          Questions of fairness and justice in the assessment of the NCD burden and the burdens and benefits associated with measures addressing NCDs.

·          The legitimacy of the role of the government in preventive care.

·          Solutions for translating effective policies from high-income to low and middle-income countries.

·          Approaches for engaging policy-makers and legislators in translating research findings into evidence-based policy and practice.

This collection of articles has not been sponsored and articles undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process overseen by BMC International Health and Human Rights Associate Editor Brigit Toebes and Guest Editors Jitse van Dijk, Marlies Hesselman and Jochen Mierau who declare no competing interests.

Submission is open to everyone. Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the submission guidelines for BMC International Health and Human Rights

The deadline for the submission of manuscripts is the 1st December 2018.


1.       WHO: Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2014. (2014). Accessed 6 March 2017.

2.       Sommer, I., Gieber, U., Mahlknecht, P., Thaler, K., Bouskill, K., Gartlehner, G. & Mendis, S., Socioeconomic inequalities in non-communicable diseases and their risk factors: an overview of systematic reviews, BMC Public Health (2015) 15:914 [DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-2227-y.].

3.    Toebes, B., Hesselman, M., Van Dijk, J.P, & Herman, J., Curbing the lifestyle disease pandemic:  making progress on an interdisciplinary research agenda for law and policy interventions, BMC International Health and Human Rights (2017) 17:25 [].

There are currently no articles in this collection.