In re: Who should be looking out for your health?

As a country that tends to think that things should be left up to individual choice – at least in theory, we have very restrictive laws in many respects on such choices (usually when they effect others) but I am referring to basically our seatbelt laws, smoking laws, drinking laws, drug laws and the like.  So what is the government going to do next?  Well zoning fast food restaurants might be the next, as New York looks to possibly put laws on the books that would limit the number of fast food restaurants in an area (specifically low income areas where diabetes runs high) as well as adding encouragement for better alternatives. 
While generally I feel that ‘choice’ should reign as king in a market economy and that efforts to control what people eat are grossly out of line with what we should be doing – I also feel that (just read Fast Food Nation if you disagree) the fast food industry is pretty horrible.  Its not really that burgers and fries are the worst things in the world actually, more I feel that the culture of long distance, highly processed food is part of the problem.  While its unlikely to happen, a shift towards local, freshly prepared food would help.  This of course goes against generally the economies of scale that massive fast food companies bring and how their value menus remain so cheap (at least on a $/calorie basis).
So what to do?  Well its not clear, but I do feel that ‘crazy’ proposals like zoning aren’t such bad ideas and since the burden of ill health often does cost all of us, taxing fast food, soda and the like are ideas I could get behind, even if that means becoming more of a ‘nannystate’.

“They make good-tasting, affordable food, but unfortunately, it lacks nutrition,” says council member Joel Rivera, of the Bronx…”What I want to do is limit the number of fast-food establishments within specific proximity of each other, and try to give incentives for healthy alternatives, and give people choices,”

See article on BBC Bid to thin out NY fast-food outlets


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