Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
Ban Fast Food Near Schools
By Indy Media / filmsforaction.org
May 17, 2009
By Micah White. From: http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/blackspot_blog/ban_fast_food_near_schools.html

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: http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~sdellavi/wp/fastfoodJan09.pdf)

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: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fastfood23-2009mar23,0,4976274,full.story)

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
0.0 ·
0


Love Films For Action? 

Films For Action empowers citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

If you feel like you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today. Every little bit helps.

Trending Today
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min3,599 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley2,942 views today ·
5 Reasons to Build a Network of Small Groups, Rather Than a Mass Movement of Individuals
Richard D. Bartlett1,619 views today ·
Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education
Peter Gray, Ph.D.1,154 views today ·
Adventurmentalism: Ecotherapy for Suicide Survivors (2016)
36 min1,052 views today ·
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran916 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick686 views today ·
Leaf (2017)
62 min426 views today ·
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga409 views today ·
Load More
Join us on Facebook
Ban Fast Food Near Schools