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March 4, 2009

Big Mac-Free School Zones

While I don't support sending squads out to close all McDonald's, the IFA's Sara Mead ran across a study that suggests maybe the squads should close some McDonald's:
A new study by economists from Berkeley and Columbia University finds that 9th graders who attend schools within a tenth of a mile of a fast food restaurant are 5.2 percent more likely to be obese. Such students consume 30 to 100 more calories a day than their peers.
Let's remember that a tenth of a mile is only a little more than 500 feet. It's also worth noting that the study indicates the proximity effect drops off rapidly. Have a fast food restaurant a quarter mile from a school? No problem!

If we can have drug-free school zones, why not fast-food-free school zones? Given that 100 daily calories is what some scientists believe to be the difference between maintaining a normal weight and overeating, if you cut those extra calories out you're talking about much healthier kids. Seems like it's worth a few zoning updates.

Photo by bee-side(s) used under a CC license

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