University of California and Columbia University researchers found a connection between obesity in adolescent children and the location of fast food restaurants. “…the researchers found that obesity rates were 5 percent higher among the ninth graders whose schools were within one-tenth of a mile of a pizza, burger or other popular fast-food outlet, compared with students attending schools farther away from fast-food stores” (NY Times). I chose this article not specifically for location of schools, but also to question national food regulation in general. It’s no mystery that the majority of fast food is manufactured without the health conscious in mind. Aside from violating certain free market rights, should there be restrictions on food quality in fast food restaurants?
I think it’s necessary to question the results of the research that was published. It seems possible that these results reflect an inference to the best explanation. There are many factors that influence a child’s diet that could reflect their weight i.e. parental influence, poverty, physiological/genetic factors etc. But if these results are accurately reflected in the scope of the study, what should we do about it? Perhaps impose proximity regulations on businesses looking to move into school zones. Limiting the ease of access seems like a reasonable solution to this problem. A better plan may be to educate kids on nutrition and health to equip them with skills to make good decisions. I personally attended a high school with an open campus lunch and a mediocre nutrition education program. Fast food was the primary lunch destination for the majority of the students. When so much of our adult population is obese, how are we supposed to help the kids? I am in favor of national regulation of downright “crappy” food. But I understand the problems associated with this type of regulation. What do you guys think?