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  • We Deserve a Break Today (from the Food Fascists)

    It’s enough to make Ronald McDonald join the Tea Party.

    San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is seriously mulling a ban on the Happy Meal and other toy giveaways associated with foods containing more sugar, sodium, and fat than the proponents of the ban regard as appropriate. The proposed “Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance” also conditions a free trinket on half-cup servings of both a fruit and vegetable.

    Obnoxious as this is—although not by California standards, perhaps—the proposal is the latest attempt by government officials at every level to do something about the “obesity epidemic.” Unable (just yet) to dictate what we eat at every meal, they are instead limiting consumers’ choices by cracking down on restaurants and food manufacturers.

    The city of Los Angeles, for example, issued a moratorium on new fast food joints in low-income neighborhoods. New York City schools now regulate the types of foods that students may sell for fundraising; the acceptable products include Fiber One bars, Soy Crisps, and Ayala’s Herbal Water. The customary birthday cupcakes have been banned in various school districts across the country. And last year, the state of Illinois hiked taxes on soft drinks and candy by 525 percent—for the sake of the children.

    But even a cursory examination of the scholarly literature uncovers solid evidence that physical inactivity—not food intake—is the primary cause of obesity. As noted by Dr. Mark McClellan, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, “Actual levels of caloric intake among the young haven’t appreciably changed over the last 20 years.”

    No matter what the Food Fascists claim, obesity rates are not the result of a “market failure.” In fact, food manufacturers have introduced 35,272 new products labeled “low fat” or “no fat” between 1987 and 2004, according to research by Michael Marlow and Alden Shiers of California Polytechnic State University.

    It is noteworthy that San Francisco’s 13-page proposed ordinance delineates a variety of local programs already dedicated to combating obesity, including Shape Up San Francisco’s Walking Challenge, a Safe Routes to School program, and a Rethink Your Drink marketing campaign. There’s also the Healthy Eating, Active Living campaign to encourage families receiving government assistance to eat healthy foods.

    “Despite these measures,” the ordinance states, “childhood obesity rates continue to rise.”

    Well, duh. In other words, county officials’ previous efforts to control people’s eating habits have failed. But that’s hardly surprising given that their premises are flawed and their remedies misguided. And yet they insist on serving up ever more.

    Evidently, the Happy Meal henchmen haven’t noticed—or simply don’t care—that Americans are just plain fed up with ill-conceived regulatory antics. If anyone is going to be forced to diet, it should be the politicians and regulators who attempt daily to beef up their powers.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to We Deserve a Break Today (from the Food Fascists)

    1. Billie says:

      what about people with high metabolism that need any fatty food at no limit for survival? discrimination!

    2. Tom, California says:

      not to worry, mandatory morning and evening calisthenics are just around the corner…and you'l be issued a color coded uniform to participate.

    3. Founders Fire, Illin says:

      The Issue at hand is finding a way to take Children and Teens of all demographics raised in the world of Electronic Gizmo's and show them something that will interest them in physical activity on a daily basis.

      These days unlike in the past when I was in Grade School, Grammar School or High School, there are massive incentives for the Adolescence in this country to stay seated and send text messages, or talk on their cell phone, or play some sort of computer game. The numbers of households with at least a hand held game machine, and game machines that are attached to the family television are legion.

      Talk to any parent these days and the challenge is to keep Sally or Sam from playing Computer games or Game machines and get them to complete home work first that they get from School.

      Children and Teens also are addicted to the Television Set. In my day it was a fight to tear us from the Television screen at night. Now it is tear them from the Computer Screen to go outside and do something other than watch their favorite television show from Boxee or a Movie from Netflix, this is aside from the games they are playing at the same time.

      This is a major problem. Limiting the toys that kids can get with a happy meal is not the answer. Finding ways to have kids interested in activities that include physical activities is the challenge for this country.

      If there were a way for Kids to have their electronics with them and enhance their play outdoors or in a gymnasium great. But they need physical activities. Adults do too. However, lets start with the younger generation so that the future is handled. The adults will follow that have children as they will see the effect themselves and need to keep up.

    4. Bobbie says:

      How about it's none of the government's business what I make my freedom of choice to do! Or what I choose for my children! I buy a kid's meal for myself most every time I go out for lunch and bring home the toy(s) to my children.

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