Blackspot

Ban Fast Food Near Schools

A recent study correlates the proximity of fast food to schools with the obesity of students.

I was recently driving past a public high school during its lunch break when I witnessed a troubling sight. A hungry horde of teens was streaming out the doors of the school and looking for a place to eat. A quick glance about the area revealed their limited options: a McDonald's across the street or a Taco Bell a block further away. If those two options didn't appeal, there was always the local convenience store with frozen microwavable options. I wondered about the long-term consequences of allowing a fast food “restaurant” to open within walking distance of a school. Now, thanks to the work of economists at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University, we have scientific evidence that fast food near schools results in student obesity. Could these findings be the beginning of a movement to ban fast food near our children's schools?

Sometimes it takes a detailed scientific study to prove what we already knew. This eight-year study looked at the weight of over three million school children and a million pregnant women. The researchers concluded that “among 9th grade children, a fast food restaurant within a tenth of a mile of a school is associated with at least a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rate” and for pregnant women “a fast food restaurant within a half mile of her residence results in a 2.5 percent increase in the probability of gaining over 20 kilos.” (full study results)

What is interesting about this study is that it provides culture jammers with a concrete, reasonable and accomplishable goal for improving the health of children. As the researchers point out, there is no discernible effect on obesity when the fast food restaurants are located further than 1/4 miles from the school entrance. We could see a substantial decrease in childhood obesity by simply moving fast food restaurants a mere 400 meters from schools.

There is historical precedent for this type of campaign. Anti-noise activists inspired by Theodor Lessing around the turn of the 20th century, for example, were successful in introducing clauses into city ordinances that require quiet within a certain distance of schools and hospitals. These laws continue to persist in the books in many cities across the States (including my own state, New York). In the States there is also a mandated “Drug Free Zone” around schools. And, according to the Los Angeles Times, LA already “has a one-year moratorium on new fast-food outlets in a 32-square-mile area of South LA.” (source)

A few vocal citizens in communities across the world can immediately decrease childhood obesity simply by stating the obvious: kids need healthy food. We can launch a movement for “Healthy Food Zones” within 400 meters of all schools. In these areas, only local restaurants that provide healthy options to children and students will be tolerated.

Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters and an independent activist. He is writing a book on the future of activism. www.micahmwhite.com or micah (at) adbusters.org

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52 comments on the article “Ban Fast Food Near Schools”

Displaying 31 - 40 of 52

Page 4 of 6

Anonymous

Wonderful ideas. Fast-food does sound easier, and with the "built in" name recognition, it seems their customers are drawn to it no matter what the other nearby restaurant options are. What I mean by fast-food sounding easier is that the menu is well-known, simple, and cheap. The organic cafes nearby could be deemed as expensive, food they don't recongize, and not well known. I know some educated adults that think "tofu" or even some vegetables cannot be prepared appetizing. Salads or stir-fry vegetables do not have flavor or keep them full, so they think. Food recognition, a little curiosity, and reasonable fare might help steer cautious diners to try new foods. I am surprised that those cafes do not approach the school for a small sampling of their fare, and explain what their foods are about. Get the students involved.

Anonymous

Wonderful ideas. Fast-food does sound easier, and with the "built in" name recognition, it seems their customers are drawn to it no matter what the other nearby restaurant options are. What I mean by fast-food sounding easier is that the menu is well-known, simple, and cheap. The organic cafes nearby could be deemed as expensive, food they don't recongize, and not well known. I know some educated adults that think "tofu" or even some vegetables cannot be prepared appetizing. Salads or stir-fry vegetables do not have flavor or keep them full, so they think. Food recognition, a little curiosity, and reasonable fare might help steer cautious diners to try new foods. I am surprised that those cafes do not approach the school for a small sampling of their fare, and explain what their foods are about. Get the students involved.

An Earthling

http://radiantonraw.typepad.com/alina/2009/04/paul-nisons-advice-on-eating-healthy-and-going-raw.html actually most of the food that is culturally accepted is bad for your body but there is just too much energy involved in the production and soliciting of such waste for the majority to wake up

An Earthling

http://radiantonraw.typepad.com/alina/2009/04/paul-nisons-advice-on-eating-healthy-and-going-raw.html actually most of the food that is culturally accepted is bad for your body but there is just too much energy involved in the production and soliciting of such waste for the majority to wake up

An Earthling

"Cooking DOES NOT increase digestibility of foods. The more a food needs cooking, the further it compromises health: a prime indicator it is NOT one that you are biologically adapted to. This means you should not be consuming it as a major component of your diet. Our society however, is centered round a cooked food lifestyle. You can still enjoy cooked foods and be healthy to some degree. If you eat cooked foods, practice proper food combining. Food combining allows your digestion to operate smoothly, without food fermenting or putrefying in your digestive tract. Aim for a minimum of 85% raw food of mostly fresh produce. Use transitional cooked food recipes. Enjoy your food, including your cooked food. But don't kid yourself. You will NOT achieve optimal wellness unless you consume a "Clean--Burning Fresh Produce Diet". It seems that society is wrong even at this basic level. I was taught at school that cooking helps digestion. May be it is just a coincidence or may be the humans are deliberately kept at extremely low energy levels to eliminate the possibility of dissent.

An Earthling

"Cooking DOES NOT increase digestibility of foods. The more a food needs cooking, the further it compromises health: a prime indicator it is NOT one that you are biologically adapted to. This means you should not be consuming it as a major component of your diet. Our society however, is centered round a cooked food lifestyle. You can still enjoy cooked foods and be healthy to some degree. If you eat cooked foods, practice proper food combining. Food combining allows your digestion to operate smoothly, without food fermenting or putrefying in your digestive tract. Aim for a minimum of 85% raw food of mostly fresh produce. Use transitional cooked food recipes. Enjoy your food, including your cooked food. But don't kid yourself. You will NOT achieve optimal wellness unless you consume a "Clean--Burning Fresh Produce Diet". It seems that society is wrong even at this basic level. I was taught at school that cooking helps digestion. May be it is just a coincidence or may be the humans are deliberately kept at extremely low energy levels to eliminate the possibility of dissent.

Anonymous

"May be it is just a coincidence or may be the humans are deliberately kept at extremely low energy levels to eliminate the possibility of dissent." Or it could be that is just rank nonsense and would entail a conspiracy to suppress humanity going back almost to the dawn of mankind like answers 1.9 million years ago. The glorious thing about knowing history is that you learn people, in doubt a rip-saw like fashion, have gotten better and better over time.

Anonymous

"May be it is just a coincidence or may be the humans are deliberately kept at extremely low energy levels to eliminate the possibility of dissent." Or it could be that is just rank nonsense and would entail a conspiracy to suppress humanity going back almost to the dawn of mankind like answers 1.9 million years ago. The glorious thing about knowing history is that you learn people, in doubt a rip-saw like fashion, have gotten better and better over time.

An Earthling

Ha,ha! You got me there. I am not sure if DNA sequencing can trace the Bushes and the Rockfellers that far back but quite agree with you that over the millions of years the great apes have become more interesting a conversation companion. And, yes, I am not 100% sure myself, yet, that all of the cooking procedures are downright harmful. I am still researching. What I mean is that anthropologists are not in agreement about the dates hominids first became obligatory fire users. It must have been even earlier but unanimously agreed that - "Evidence for the regular and recurrent use of caves by hominids appears in the fossil record 400-350 thousand years ago." Cooking raw foods has been going long enough for our and Neanderthal molars do reduce in size but still our digestive tract has been evolving for millions of years as you have pointed out yourself. And we are better evolved to be herbivores rather than carnivores.(very long intestines compared to body size) To be an omnivore like pigs and bears is an evolutionary advantage so we may not die out in the absence of one particular diet. But the factory "food" with all the chemicals is definitely a poison to our organic system.

An Earthling

Ha,ha! You got me there. I am not sure if DNA sequencing can trace the Bushes and the Rockfellers that far back but quite agree with you that over the millions of years the great apes have become more interesting a conversation companion. And, yes, I am not 100% sure myself, yet, that all of the cooking procedures are downright harmful. I am still researching. What I mean is that anthropologists are not in agreement about the dates hominids first became obligatory fire users. It must have been even earlier but unanimously agreed that - "Evidence for the regular and recurrent use of caves by hominids appears in the fossil record 400-350 thousand years ago." Cooking raw foods has been going long enough for our and Neanderthal molars do reduce in size but still our digestive tract has been evolving for millions of years as you have pointed out yourself. And we are better evolved to be herbivores rather than carnivores.(very long intestines compared to body size) To be an omnivore like pigs and bears is an evolutionary advantage so we may not die out in the absence of one particular diet. But the factory "food" with all the chemicals is definitely a poison to our organic system.

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