Wednesday, May 13, 2009

willful ignorance

I confess....that I sometimes just don't want to know.

Boston is looking to join the club in posting calorie counts on chain menus. I'm a big fan of the ability to know what you are eating and of steps to improve our nation's health. I think our waistlines are a huge danger, both to our public health and to our economic well-being (health care costs, lost productivity, etc). But I'm not sure I'm a big fan of this specific proposal.

Right now, the info on nutrition for many chains is available online. I'd like it to be even more available, especially on the front-line of the decision process (even if I'm one of three people left without Internet on their cell phones). But I think I'd rather they require a poster by the door and pamphlets at the counters over the menu proposal. I do get that some people may NEED this to be in their face to pay attention to it. But I also think a lot of those same people will still ignore it or won't garner much meaning from it. For me, I am pretty much a calorie-counter 5 of 7 days a week but I really like the option to NOT know sometimes.

I also worry what it will do to people with active eating disorders or even those who are just on the verge. There are people for whom the info may (heck, will) be a trigger for very unhealthy disorders. Obesity is not the only problem out there.

On the legal side, I do wonder about the "forced speech" issue but don't recall nearly enough about it to make an actual analysis. Sounds like a very interesting final exam question though....


Anonymous said...

don't even joke about final exam questions!

Lauren Starks said...

I think most of the FF restaurants here have started posting this information near the counters. Truthfully, I don't pay it much attention. It's a giant poster with itty bitty writing.

Oh, and McDonald's printing the nutrition on the wrapper/box is like "too little too late"?