"This nation's anti-fat crusade creeps me out," said Michelle Cottle in The New Republic, and a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health could make it even creepier. Researchers have concluded that "ninth-graders who go to school within 500 feet of a fast-food restaurant are more likely to be fat than those who don't." So should we ban burger joints from school zones? Please, depriving kids of Whoppers won't get them hooked on broiled chicken and carrot sticks.
Maybe not, said Marion Nestle in The Atlantic, but if there's a chance that kids will start eating more healthful meals at school, why not at least see what happens if we keep fast-food joints away? The idea's not new—the Los Angeles City Council tried to enact it into law last year. "With some research evidence to back up the idea, this study might kick off a national trend."
"One reason I'm leery of proposals to ban soda and 'junk food' from schools," said Jacob Sullum in Reason, is that they inevitably snowball into restrictions that limit the choices available to adults. When 500-foot fast-food-free zones around schools don't make kids thinner, we'll get 1,000-foot zones, and soon grown-ups won't be able to get a burger anywhere in town.