Something I originally posted to the "screaming scales" thread...but it was suggested that this might make its own compelling thread....
So, what do you folks think of this business where a NYC lawyer filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of obese children, against McDonald's restaurants, claiming that the restaurant promotes childhood obesity? The judge threw the case out, but stated that it can be re-filed. Click here to read interesting articles about this, released today by Fortune magazine.
Fortune cites a controversial new book called "Food Politics," by Marion Nestle (pronouced "Nessle," and no relation to the candy bar people), the head of the nutrition department at New York University. Nestle offers compelling evidence to suggest that the restaurants, not the people, are more to blame for America's obesity epidemic.
The fast food industry's stance on this is that weight can be controlled through a person's individual food and exercise choices. They also claim that nutritional information on all their products is always available to customers upon request. Their response to this suit was a full-page ad in the New York Times with a photograph of a pot-bellied man, and the caption, "Did you hear the one about the fat guy who sued the restaurant for making him fat? IT'S NO JOKE." (I was absolutely INSULTED when I heard about the ad.)
Legal experts are saying that it could be the next "tobacco." Reason being, whatever legal response the fast food industry can come up with, boils down to: "If you're dumb enough to use our products than you deserve to contract the diseases they cause." NOT a solid legal argument, for those of you studying LSAT concepts on argument...
One expert opinion I read today pointed out that the tobacco industry was forced to recompense billions of dollars to victims who not only smoked by choice despite the fact that they knew the product has health risks, BUT, for conditions they contracted that are often reversible such as addiction and cancer. This expert argued that one of the main diseases caused by childhood obesity, Type B diabetes, is IRREVERSIBLE and lasts the child's whole life once contracted...and using that logic, we could very well see the food industry held similarly accountable.
Personally, I was THRILLED to hear about this lawsuit. Maybe places like McDonald's MAKE AVAILABLE nutritional information...but how many people, in real world situations, actually ask for it? And has anyone else noticed the disparity in the price of healthy restaurant selections versus the rest? You can get a Whopper at Burger King, 900 calories, for 99 cents...but you have to pay $3.29 for a salad. And it's like that in grocery stores, too. (If we were to eat the way the government recommends, we'd always be broke and seriously inconvenienced.) Often times, it's both cheaper and more convenient to use a drive-through and buy burgers than it would be to get a salad at the drive-through or go to the grocery store and get something healthier.
And fast food restaurants in particular do everything they can to market DIRECTLY TO KIDS, i.e. toys in the Happy Meal, play areas, etc. We take our kids to fast food restaurants maybe twice per month...and despite the fact that we don't watch TV at home (long story), they STILL always know which kid's meal toys are at which places. WHY IS THAT, and shouldn't there be some limit placed on the way unhealthy food is marketed to children?
What do you guys think?