I'm in favor of the intent behind the ban but I'm more inclined to side with the skeptics on what the outcomes will actually be. The problems seem more systemic than a simple scarcity of healthy restaurants. If there truly was a market demand for healthier eating options I'm inclined to think that they would be there, what better incentive is there than open your doors and make a lot of money. This is from my Bananas reading last night:
. . . . Articles appeared in the press saying how consumers preferred it but consumers took what they got. Long before their time, Keith and Preston had an instinctive grasp of the forces involved. The world of business and economics believed, and for many years yet would continue to do so, that consumer demand somehow just arose. But, wrote Samuel Crowther admiringly, looking back nearly twenty years later on these early days of United Fruit in his book The Romance and Rise of the American Tropics, what was being discovered was that 'demand is a thing which must be created.'Do fast food restaurants force healthier restaurants out or do they emerge once the healthier options leave? And what is a healthier restaurant? The ban defines 'fast food restaurant' as follows:
any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders and food served in disposable wrapping or containers.
But an absence of those characteristics and the presence of waiters certainly doesn't mean eating there is going to improve your health. I'd be more interested in seeing some initiatives that encouraged people to eat at home, that created real incentives for grocery stores that sold "real" food to move back in, that worked with schools, churches and civic organizations to create a demand for healthier life styles. And I would throw in some community gardens to boot.