Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hey kiddo, wanna Big Mac? ... All your friends are tryin' em out, and one ain't gonna hurt yah

This was the cover story I was bombarded with on CNN's Health Page this morning: Fast Food Clusters Near Schools! I noticed Randy Balco linking to local version of the story earlier in the week, but now apparently the story has gone national. How utterly disturbing. According to the article,

Nearly 80 percent of Chicago schools studied had at least one fast-food restaurant within a half mile. Statistical mapping techniques showed there were at least three times more fast-food restaurants located less than a mile from schools than would be expected if the restaurants had been more randomly distributed.

Unfortunately, somebody forgot to tell these researchers that large fast food corporations don't randomly distribute their restaurants. Or maybe not, as later in the piece lead author Brian Austin points out,

"We know that a great deal of thought and planning goes into fast-food restaurant site location," and that children "are very important to the market,"

One only needs to look through the article, and the real problem is articulated several times.

"It can be very hard for children and teens to eat in healthy ways when they're inundated with this," said lead author Bryn Austin, a researcher at Harvard and Children's Hospital Boston.

And later,

Children in Chicago are more than twice as likely to be overweight when they enter kindergarten than children elsewhere, so the study is especially troubling, said Dr. Matt Longjohn, executive director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.

Complain all you want about fast food, but when children get fat, why should we look anywhere other than their parents. You know, the ones that have the responsibility for their health and nutrition on a daily basis. Four year olds aren't taking their piggy banks to McDonalds. And even with older children, parents that instill healthy nutritional values in their children are not going to have their children eating at McDonalds everyday. Or maybe they won't, but by the age when kids can make their own money they're almost adults anyhow. And if teenagers aren't going to listen to their parents about health, what's to make us think they're going to listen to anyone else.

This is yet another case of researchers going out of their way to blame a health issue on anything but personal responsibility. And is it just me, buclusteringsterring" bring to mind an image of drug dealers congregating around a school yard? Maybe that's the idea.


Blogger Kerry said...

Yes, it's true, parents should be the ones held responsible for their children's health and wellbeing and using the media as a scapegoat is not going to solve any problems. But in saying that, you cannot deny that these other contributing factors do not exasperate the problem in some way, because they do.

We are constantly being bombarded with subtle propaganda from the media influencing daily decisions we make that we are not even consciously aware of. Marketting exploits psychology and it frustrates me to no end.

But hey, you can't live in the western world and not be influenced in some way. It's about moving forward as a society, and more importantly, it's about progressing as a human race.

It's not about changing one small thing and expecting drastic results. It should be about changing lifestyles and promoting health.

Or alernatively, you could always just turn hippie...

11:03 PM  

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