On the surface, it seems like a good idea. The Los Angeles City Council limiting the number of fast food restaurants in the city’s poorest neighborhoods for one year. Their argument being overweight and obese children are exposed to nothing but unhealthy food choices and when you combine that with the poor nutrition they are often encountering in single parent homes and poverty, they fall victim to becoming overweight. The hope being that more healthy choices and even supermarkets will begin to pop up in areas like south central L.A. and thus begin to turn around the dangerous and ultimately deadly eating habits of the poorest and youngest of our society.
Now the truth: this is a bad idea that I hope does not lead to a nationwide trend that will put limits on two very American ideals: capitalism and freedom of choice.
While I not only understand but often see our inner cities have more McDonald’s, Burger King’s and Wendy’s than anything else, that does not mean putting a stop to their expansion will make our youth healthier any more than putting a moratorium on the number of check chasing places will lead those who make minimum wage to be more frugal with their money.
It’s called the “nanny” state where government tells us how we should live our lives by limiting our choices … and it’s dangerous. I believe what makes this country great is our ability to decide what we want. If we really want fast food out of our neighborhoods, then the people who live in those neighborhoods need not patronize those places. It’s the same theory that applies in television. If there is something you don’t want to see on TV, don’t watch and see how quickly it goes away.
Also, the whole theory that fast food is causing our kids to be overweight doesn’t hold water with me. Parents, why do you let your kids have fast food and don’t tell me there is nothing you can do about it. Most kids don’t have the money to go out and buy fast food and I don’t know any child that is driving to these establishments. It’s the parents who provide both the means and the access to these so-called enablers. It’s up to mom and/or dad to make sure fast food does not become part of a child’s diet.
Now I am not a parent and don’t claim to understand the pressures or parenting in this era, but I do know that it’s the parent who sets the example for how their children eat. My mother never placed salt and pepper on the kitchen table when I was a kid, thus I never put salt or pepper on my food. The same is true today: allow the parent to make the decision for the child and not the “nanny” state.