August 15th, 2012

What if we regulated junk food the way we do alcohol?

By Rosie Mestel
Los Angeles Times

Junk food is everywhere. We’re eating way too much of it. And we’re getting fat. Most of us know what we’re doing and yet we do it anyway.

So here’s a suggestion offered by two researchers at the Rand Corp.:  Why not take a lesson from alcohol control policies and apply them to where food is sold and how it’s displayed?

“Many policy measures to control the obesity epidemic assume that people consciously and rationally choose what and how much they eat and therefore focus on providing information and more access to healthier foods,” note Dr. Deborah A. Cohen and Lila Rabinovich of Rand.  (Yes, and tell that to the Wheat Thins box in my kitchen trash, emptied last night in a feeding frenzy.)

“In contrast,” the authors continue, “many regulations that do not assume people make rational choices have been successfully applied to control alcohol, a substance—like food—of which immoderate consumption leads to serious health problems.”

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