This paper utilizes a rule-utilitarian framework to examine the ethical issue of food consumption regulation in the United States as an effort to control obesity rates. Rule-utilitarianism presents the idea that “a right action is one that conforms to a rule that if followed consistently, would create for everyone involved the most beneficial balance of good over bad” (Vaughn 35). Specifically, this paper argues that if the government were to enact a policy or law that required food companies and restaurants to reduce their portion sizes, this law/policy would be considered morally permissible under rule-utilitarianism theory. Doing so would result in more good outcomes than bad. Distributive justice would be met with better allocation of funds, and overall increase in happiness per person would sky rocket once obesity began to decline. The paper concludes by discussing the counterargument that these sorts of actions conflict with individuals right to choice.

Geographic Coverage

United States



Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


The University of Puget Sound