Drive-Through Ban: Will It Lower Obesity Rates?

Kim Conte

dunkin donuts drive thru

Government attempts to curb soaring obesity rates should be applauded -- but not when the attempts are seemingly ineffectual.

Case in point: A California town called Baldwin Park has banned building new drive-throughs at restaurants for the next nine months. The hope is this measure will create a more healthy community, as well as cut down on traffic issues caused by idling cars waiting in line. But many locals think the moratorium makes the opposite of good sense.

And, frankly, I have to agree with them.

Eliminating drive-throughs and forcing folks to get out of their vehicle won't make Americans healthier. Customers are still going to order a bacon-cheeseburger, fries, a Double Down, and who knows what else -- all of which will negate the number of calories burned by walking from the car to the fast food restaurant.

Plus, Baldwin Park -- which ironically boasts to have opened California's first drive-through restaurant (In-N-Out) more than 60 years ago -- already has 17 drive-throughs. Won't a ban on the building of new ones ultimately exacerbate the lines and traffic that are plaguing the existing restaurants?

Is it just me or is this new law a head-scratcher?

If communities are truly committed to lowering obesity rates, then they should launch an all-out assault in America's fight against obesity instead of simply throwing a hand grenade. To me, the problem with this law is that it focuses too narrowly on people's daily habits (using the drive-through) and not broadly enough on their unhealthy lifestyle (eating fast food every day, not exercising, etc.).

Such measures as introducing healthy fast food options, organizing a community-wide exercise campaign, or educating folks on the dangers of unhealthy eating would seem to have more impact on our long-term health than a temporary ban on drive-throughs.

Would a drive-through ban be effective in curbing obesity in your community?


Image via psd/Flickr

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