Fast Food and Zoning
June 26th, 2006
Councilmember Joel Rivera’s idea to confront obesity by changing zoning laws to prohibit fast food in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of obesity is attracting criticism from all sides.
Blog readers can find rants at various levels of vitriol from those who see the idea as an example of big government liberalism. The most thorough, though, is on a blog called the Rant Shack. The post blasts the City Council, blasts Rivera personally, and blasts overweight people, saying that zoning won’t them from unhealthy foods. It ends by questioning the existence of an obesity epidemic.
In the New York Sun, Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Cuoncil on Science and Health, writes that obesity is a serious health threat, but thinks that government’s main role should be to teach people how to eat better and exercise effectively. She also suggests more focus on bioengineering food to make it have fewer calories without affecting the taste.
Environmental blog 3r likens the idea to another attempt to control sinful industries through zoning: the push to move pornography out of Times Square. The face of Times Square was changed, it writes, but many businesses found loopholes. Instead of pushing for new zoning, 3r thinks Rivera should push for more funding for health education, gym classes, and parks.By Joshua Brustein on June 26, 2006, 3:21 pm
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