KSU should jump on the no trans fat train

America is fat.

Fast food is fattening.

These well-known factors of the obesity equation are ones the government is working to subtract.

Yesterday’s Daily Kent Stater reported “the government already requires all fast food companies to make nutritional information available to the public in some way” and are continuing by acting on the issue of portion size.

And rightfully so. The Centers for Disease Control noted that in 2004, 32.2 percent of American adults were obese and 4.8 percent were extremely obese.

But New York City has a plan.

It became the first American city to really take action. In August 2005, its health department urged all city restaurants to start serving food sans trans fat (the ultimate Satan to health food junkies). It was cited by the New York Department of Health as a significantly cause to the risk of heart disease (because it raises cholesterol) and should not be part of any healthy diet.

Trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil to prolong shelf life or balance flavors.

Fast forward one year later, the city took it a step further.

New York City Health Commissioner Tom Frieden announced Tuesday that a proposal was in the works that would put a ban on trans fat in restaurants and require most eateries to post the calories on the menu.

Yale University psychologist Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale, applauded this decision saying “consumers have the right to know what goes on their plates. They also have the right to know their meals won’t contain unsafe ingredients, like trans fat. For decades, research has linked trans fat and heart disease. With so many alternatives available, no restaurant needs to put its customers at risk by cooking with trans fats.”

Those cute napkins from Subway with the calories listed beside a certain veggie delight would take on a new meaning. While craning your head up toward the fluorescent menu board to see if you would rather have the burger with two slabs of meat or three, you’d be forced to realize just how many calories or saturated fat you’d really be putting into your body.

Three cheers, New York City. It’s the perfect step. You can’t, and shouldn’t, tell someone that he or she can’t eat those three slabs of meat piled high with mayonnaise and 50 shakes of the salt container, but you can educate them. And what better way to educate than by having the calorie count listed right beside the other most important part of a fast-food meal -the cost. Whether the consumers take the step to shove that 1,000-calorie meal down their throats, it will certainly help.

Now to Kent State.

University Dining Services has taken great strides in providing nutritional meals and options for the health-savvy college population. But the nutritional facts are harder to find.

Help us food junkies out, Dining Services, and make the lists obvious at The Hub, at Rosie’s or at any of your other fine establishments. It almost seems like a responsibility now.

The above editorial is the general consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.