If you won’t control your kids, we will

Molly Cahill

It’s no secret that this country has a long-standing, turbulent relationship with obesity. There are new fashion diets coming out all the time, usually just variations on an old theme. Eat healthy and exercise. Surgeries are also becoming commonplace. People can go out and pay thousands of dollars to get tiny allotments of their stomachs portioned off where the wiser option would be to use that money to hire a personal trainer.

But that would require exercising, something far too many people avoid like the plague.

Last week in San Francisco, the city’s board of supervisors passed an ordinance set to essentially take the ‘happy’ out of Happy Meals. They decided that the toys included in a McDonald’s Happy Meal were negatively influencing children to make unhealthy dietary choices. The parents buying those happy meals can’t be expected to take responsibility for what their children eat can they?

It was therefore decided that restaurants in San Francisco would not be allowed to sell toys along with children’s meals unless the meal fit the city’s standard of acceptable calorie, salt and fat levels. The law will take effect in a little over a year.

And once again, New York is gearing up to regulate what its residents can and cannot consume. The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has decided that the people are consuming far more soda than they should be.

Like we didn’t know that already.

His idea to impose a state-wide tax on sugary drinks was shot down. So now he’s attempting to get permission from the feds to ban residents of the city over which he rules from using food stamps to buy soda. Maybe he figures that people who need assistance from the government to even put food on the table can’t be trusted to moderate their soda intake.

Public officials, it seems, are deciding that if we won’t make healthy choices, they’ll do it for us. They want Americans to live healthier lives, so their hearts are in the right place. But the fact of the matter is we choose to drink sugar-laden soft drinks and to let our kids eat Happy Meals instead of something more nutritious.

That the average person also spends most of their time plopped down in front of the TV or messing around on the computer doesn’t help much either.

But simply banning these things isn’t going to solve the problem. We know it’s bad for us; most people just don’t care enough to do otherwise. You’ll get better results helping people learn how to live healthier lives than you will trying to cram that caring down their throats with a gavel.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].