Fast Food near schools

January 25th, 2011 at 6:44 am by David Farrar

Rebecca Todd in The Press reports:

Kiwi children are running the gauntlet of fast-food restaurants every day – with outlets five times more likely to be clustered around schools, research shows.

Who would have thought – fast food outlets are situated near customers. Shock horror. This must be stopped. Who would have thought that a shop would locate near 1,000 customers, rather than on remote rural roads.

The high number of burger joints and chip shops close to schools is thought to be a factor in the childhood- epidemic sweeping the Western world.

Or a lack of exercise, plus a failure of parents to provide school lunches. I was provided with a healthy lunch by my Mum almost every day, and was skinny as a rake at school (things changed alas later on). We did have a fish and chips shop opposite the school, and maybe every few weeks would buy from it – very useful on freezing cold days.

The problem has prompted the Secondary Principals Association to call for restrictions on what dairies near schools can sell during certain hours.

Oh yes. And let us have a legion of inspectors to swoop on dairy owners and arrest them for selling some wine gums at 11 am.

Mr Day studied the clustering of fast-food and convenience stores around schools in Lower Hutt, Wellington, Christchurch, North Shore and Waitakere. In poor areas, there were 24.5 fast-food and convenience stores per 1000 pupils within 800 metres of a school, compared with 9.7 in richer areas.

Now this is interesting. You would expect there to be more stores in richer areas, because there is more money available to be spent. You would think terribly expensive fast food would do badly in poorer areas, as families would be saving money by making their lunches at home.

If this is not the case, then target the real problem – bad parenting.

Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh said many principals were concerned about the prevalence of fatty-food outlets near their schools.

“They work very hard to ensure that their canteens sell healthy food, but they know the dairy down the road is prepared to sell a can of Coke and pie for $2,” he said.

More like $4 I would say. And again, the cheapest lunch is one prepared at home.

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204 Responses to “Fast Food near schools”

  1. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Coke and pie for $2?! Sounds like somebody’s being disingenuous with figures. Or words. You might be able to get one or the other for $2, but not both.

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  2. dad4justice (7,791 comments) says:

    Why worry about this when we allow sex shops and brothels within a stones throw from schools.Well done Tim Barnett and Terry Brown!!

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  3. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    I’m not worried about either. But the reason, d4j, is likely to be that those at schools who are under the age of legal entry are unlikely to attempt to or be able to enter such premises, a brothel being the least likely of the two to be entered at a guess. And if they were to enter a sex shop, at the end of the day, it’s only a sex shop. Whereas they are likely to enter a fast food place or dairy. Not that I have a problem with that.

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  4. ben (2,399 comments) says:

    You know, $2 for a pie and coke really is a bargain (I’ve seen the same deal near where I work J Kitty). Over the weekend I decided to make some home fried chicken. 2 x chicken breast $13, bottle of canola oil $8, flour, $2, milk $5, lemon, pepper etc, throw in another $2. That’s $30.

    In short: f*** home cooking. It is not cheap.

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  5. Lazybum (259 comments) says:

    Home cooking can be expensive, but it can also be cheap & cheerful. Supermarket chicken is better quality than KFC rat.
    For milk, go to a local fruit & veg shop sells, ours sell for $3.10 PER 2 LITRE.

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  6. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    so…the clustering of salt/fat-laden-burger outlets in poor areas…is all down to ‘bad parents’..?

    ..who knew..?

    ..and what refreshing logic….eh…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  7. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Ben, sounds like you have paid premium prices – you can buy whole chickens for $13 (good for two meals), and you will only have needed a fraction of the oil, flour and milk, so more like $10 would be easy to achieve.

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  8. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Shit Ben, prices have gone down since I was at secondary! Mind you, smaller area, less competition, higher costs to get to market and all that.

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  9. Lazybum (259 comments) says:

    Dil U – the shops have seen an opening and are exploiting it to make a profit. So it is in part down to bad parents who give money to buy these foods (unless it is stolen by the kids?.

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  10. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    phil.

    There are parents who are not only able to make lunches for their kids, but also help the kids to realise that fast food is not a staple diet. The simple fact is, it’s not difficult. Even back in my day, (The early 80′s) my walk home took me past multiple dairies, 2 fish and chip shops and a fried chicken outlet.

    A Kid walking the same route today would pass exactly the same. I am sure it’s just as possible for parents to instill healthy eating habits, but sadly many parents find it easier to take 2 seconds to hand a kid money for the wrong food than to take the 5 minutes to make sure the kid has good food.

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  11. Offshore_Kiwi (557 comments) says:

    You would expect there to be more stores in richer areas, because there is more money availabel to be spent. You would think terribly expensive fast food would do badly in poorer areas, as families would be saving money by making their lunches at home.

    Surely DPF you should have wrapped that in a /sarcasm tag?

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  12. Hollyfield (69 comments) says:

    I don’t think that fast food restaurants are positioned near schools at all. I think they’re near the centres of communities, and so are schools.

    At the school I work at, there is a Burger King a few hundred metres away, which was built only a couple of years ago. However, next door to BK is a petrol station, and across the road is a long block of shops which includes a vet, optometrist, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and non-ethnic restaurants, cafes, kids’ clothing shops, toy shop, movie theatre, bank, post office, home furnishings shop, and probably some more. Did BK choose to go there for the sole reason of being near the school, or was it because it was a commercial area where there were lots of people visiting other businesses?

    Funny that the article starts by talking about kids running the gauntlet of fast food restaurants, but by the end of the article the principals are only concerned about dairies. So is the problem the proliferation of fast food restaurants near schools or not?

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  13. iMP (2,247 comments) says:

    5 chicken drum sticks for $5 at Sak n Slave, or 3 chicken cages for $2, make hearty chicken soup and bag of buns (6-8) for 99c on special. Total? About $1.20 per person.

    Augment with some veges out of the homegrown garden…get hard people! David, like you, my Mum diligently made my school lunchj everyday – as I did for my kids – including orange quarters individually wrapped in glad. Orange quarters!?!!

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  14. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Secondary school – so some could feasibly have other sources of income. But even so, if provided with a wholesome lunch, there is a lower likelihood of uptake of poor quality food. Also, parental teaching re: unhealthy, fast food, e.g. what I was taught was that 1) it’s a treat (when I was younger) and (when I was a little older) 2) why have low quality food when you can make or buy relatively high quality food for a similar price?

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  15. Dave Mann (1,170 comments) says:

    Gee what a funny old world we live in. For thousands of years human beings have struggled to find enough to eat and now in the 21st century everybody is wetting themselves complaining that poor people have too much to eat! :)

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  16. Freckles (13 comments) says:

    Like Ben, I’ve seen deals like that too – a lot of dairys can source non-branded versions from India or wherever and they do them up in plastic bags with crisps and lollies, real cheap. (Probably breaking up packets they’re not supposed to sell individually, etc etc). Times have changed, and often times certain types of junk food, ARE cheaper than real food. I’ve seen kids heading off for the day with lolly necklaces. If you suck each lolly really slowly you don’t feel hungry all day and it’s only $1.

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  17. Megatron (187 comments) says:

    Put the responsibility back onto the parents. The odd fish and chip meal or pie isn’t going to hurt anyone..if it is balanced with good food the rest of the week. The difference between then and now is that the kids are not getting any exercise.
    If a child eats fish and chips/pies daily then goes home and sits in front of the TV/computer/XBox and gets no exercise they are going to gain weight and be unhealthy. This is another example of everyone taking the blame for what is essentially the parents responsibility. Stopping shops selling certain foods isn’t going to fix it…just as Sue Bradford’s anti smacking law hasn’t stopped innocent children being murdered. Same demographic though.

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  18. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    fat/sugar-laden junk food is dirt cheap….

    the problem has to be tackled at source..

    ..namely…regulation of that cowboy industry…

    …the food manufacturing/retailing worlds..

    ..self-regulation has obviously been an epic-fail…

    ..when corporates can manufacture/sell what are virtually poisonous-products…

    ..consumption of which guarantees bad health outcomes…

    …something is very very wrong…

    ..and the marketing/pushing of this fat/salt-sugar-laden crap to children..via tv ads etc..

    ..only compounds those wrongs…

    ..they need a healthy-food regulation-regime…

    …leaving it to them…has obviously failed/is not working..

    (ahem..!..i wd like to note that in all these years of raising my boy…that he has never had to buy his lunch from tuck-shops etc..

    ..one look at them showed me the crap they peddle..)

    …and i prided myself on making him killer-lunches..

    …making him the envy of his carnivorous-classmates…

    …with their scungy luncheon roll sandwiches..on crap white bread…

    ..(an action that was quite deliberate…for a raft of reasons…)

    ..some tuck-shops are marginally better now…but not really…

    ..the whole food ‘industry’ is in serious need of a reformation..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  19. Mr Robert Black (145 comments) says:

    I used to love Big Ben pies at school.

    Nothing wrong with my health, touch wood and I am not obese.

    I suppose it is all a balance, exercise, amount and so on.

    Education. Sensible family influence.

    Yeah, pretty much what Megatron said.

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  20. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Phil.

    You’ve just proved my point.

    Parents who, like yourself, ensure your kid has a good lunch are also the parents whose kids eat less or no junk food.

    The industry does not need regulation, our kids need better alternatives and parents who help kids make the right choices.

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  21. Rich Prick (1,557 comments) says:

    If these self appointed busy-bodies are that concerned (in a “think of the children-eske” kind of way) then they are welcome to shift the schools. On their dime.

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  22. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    slightly righty…my boy was the exception….

    most other of the children were eating absolute rubbish….

    …to live in a country where healthy food is out of the reach of most….

    (thru cost…the main health-shop in auckland is called harvest…it’s ‘cos they harvest yr wallet,..eh..?)

    ..and where poisonous-crap disguised/marketed as food..is super-cheap…

    …and the mainstream retail outlets are crammed with it…

    ..and television etc is relentlessly pushing it to children/families…’the family-meal’…

    ..and the industry is totally unregulated…

    ..is all so wrong for so many reasons…

    ..and when you factor in the health costs further down the road…from this obesity-inducing diet/food-offerings..

    …it becomes clear our current system is institutionalised-madness..

    …how can it not…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  23. Diziet Sma (109 comments) says:

    Yes, don’t focus on child abuse & useless parents. Blame junk food. Children are ‘forced’ to buy it. We must punish small business owners. This will fix society.

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  24. big bruv (13,331 comments) says:

    “We did have a fish and chips shop opposite the school”

    Ah yes, I well remember that, once or twice a month I would join the long line (were you one of the guys at the back pushing in DPF?) wanting fish and chips for lunch.

    For some reason they tasted better back then than they do today.

    Is that shop still there?

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  25. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    it’s not just (so-called) junk-food…

    ..much of the middle isles in supermarkets is over-processed fat/sugar-laden crap…

    …and i’m sure the ‘small business owners’ who peddled those lead water-pipes to the people of rome..

    ..during the roman empire…

    ..made that same plaintive cry …when it was suggested they stop…

    ..’cos …y’know..!..they were killing everyone…

    …our modern food industries are the lead-water-pipe peddlers of our time…

    ..unconscionable robber-barons….pushing/peddling poisonous muck….disguised as food..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  26. gravedodger (1,517 comments) says:

    @dave mann 8 02, In a bloody nutshell,ace.

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  27. georgebolwing (612 comments) says:

    The location of fast-food outlets has little to do with success in life. It’s all about attitude, and mostly about people attitude to the future.

    I think the causality runs like this:

    People how care about the future (in the jargon of economists, “have low discount rates”) will do the following and ensure their children do the following: eat healthy food, take exercise, study hard, work hard, save. Doing all of these things involves putting off satisfaction to the future. But that is the point: these people value future satisfaction more highly than current satisfaction.

    People how don’t care about the future (and thus have a high discount rate), will not do any of these things, but will rather put more on current satisfaction: so eating fast-food, that tastes good, mainly because it is high in fat and sugar; spending every cent they have, and probably borrowing the most that they can; leaving school as soon as possible and getting any job, since a small income now is more attractive than a large income after more study, not exercising, because exercise takes time that that they could use doing something else, even if it is watching TV.

    The behaviours that put consumption off till the future are also the behaviours that lead to success in life. The person who studies really hard, saves every cent they ever earn, gets a good job, at which they work really hard, will end up with a great income and will be able to save even more, buy a great house without a crippling mortgage, acquire other assets, and is also likely to have good health and live a long, happy life and retire comfortably and live into old age. They are also likely to have fewer kids later in life (again, putting off the satisfaction of parenthood while they progress in their job).

    Now, there is an element of luck in life, and successful people can make bad decisions and lose everything; healthy people can have heart attacks and die young, there are some very old people who drink, smoke, eat badly and take no exercise. But the trend is clear; worry about the future and behave in ways that will lead to a better future will lead to both a better tomorrow and a better today. Live like there is no tomorrow and there probably won’t be one.

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  28. Doug (405 comments) says:

    It’s impossible to regulate for bad Parents. If you could stop bad parents increasing the size of their Families you might get some improvement in Health outcomes.

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  29. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    it’s not just (so-called) junk-food…

    ..much of the middle isles in supermarkets is over-processed fat/sugar-laden crap…

    That’s right, it’s a much bigger problem than fast food outlets. But very difficult to do anything about it, if parents want to drip feed poison into their kids it’s up to them.

    You could put much stricter controls on marketing but that’s closing the stable door far too late, and ignoring all the windows.

    Many people keep on with self destructive (and kid destructive) behaviours, but you can’t legislate stupidity, and if you try they find other ways to be stupid.

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  30. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    Im just glad the reporter doesnt use emotive language:

    “Kiwi children are running the gauntlet”

    What a crock of shit.

    If some fat kid wants to buy a pie everyday on the way to school, i say good on him. free country. cock yourself son

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  31. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    but you can regulate for the quality of the food allowed to be sold…

    (as in max-amounts of salt/sugar/fat allowed..as just one example..)

    ..it ain’t rocket-science…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  32. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    kiwi kids are indeed running the gauntlet..

    ..especially if you include tv ads/saturation-marketing etc as part of that gauntlet…

    ..and unlike the pre-fat generations…

    …they are pummelled with messages to buy/consume these ..what are in essence…poisons..

    ..and a lot of adults make a lot of money from peddling/pushing this muck…

    ..and they don’t give a flying fuck what they are doing to their ‘customers’…

    ..even heroin peddlers are more honest than these scumbags……

    ..phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  33. Doug (405 comments) says:

    philu:
    Why should we regulate for Stupidity.

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  34. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    yeah..following yr train of thought…

    ..let’s flag seat-belts…and safety-standards on anything…eh..?

    ..and it’s not regulating for stupidity..

    ..it’s regulating to stop scumbags peddling poisonous muck to our children….

    …have you got a problem with that..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  35. Doug (405 comments) says:

    philu
    The pre-fat generations.

    After the War people where eating dripping sandwiches really healthy food?

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  36. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    DPF – you’re morbidly obese right? Your’e not alone – behind the States we’re the most dangerously overweight country in the world. On average, our kids will die younger than us because of obesity. Imagine if we did something about it…

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  37. MT_Tinman (2,995 comments) says:

    I can’t recall many fast food-type outfits actually giving their product away so surely if the brats don’t have money (as we never did when I was young) they can’t buy anything.

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  38. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    phil – stupid terminology. thats like me saying “philu’s kid is running the marijuana guantlet everyday!”

    actually, he probably is…

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  39. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    but you can regulate for the quality of the food allowed to be sold…

    (as in max-amounts of salt/sugar/fat allowed..as just one example..)

    I think it could be a lot harder than you think, it’s far too complex.

    Sugar is 100% sugar – allowed?
    Jam is 50% sugar – allowed?

    1 small bottle of Coke a week – allowed? How do you control how many they buy and consume?
    1 litre of orange juice a day – allowed?

    Even if you could have effective supermarket trolley police what about all the other outlets?

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  40. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    (awesome to have you back phil)

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  41. andrei (2,506 comments) says:

    Oh woe – we are all going to die, if the global warming don’t get us, clogged arteries from too many Big Macs will.

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  42. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Thats brilliant from Walsh ( he is also principal of John Paul College Rotorua) my son went there last year and says you can buy a huge range of nice fatty foods at the school cafe, go figure,, sounds like a move to remove competition

    Also, proof of this obesity epidemic please, sounds like climate change, lots of people talking about it, but SFA facts and figures.

    Both my kids are at secondary school, there are no more fat kids in their classes than there was in my classes 35 years ago.

    Climate change, swine flu, obesity, bird flu.. fuck off, enjoy what we have, too many government departments trying to justify their existence by alarmist press releases.

    The latest study show that reading too many press releases can make you a moron

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  43. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    And again, the cheapest lunch is one prepared at home.

    This has a folksy logic to it, but it’s probably not true. A fastfood company with all the economies of scale can most likely make you a cheaper lunch (say a pie or a horrible little cheeseburger). Probably not a ‘better’ lunch, but cheaper. Especially if you give some value to your time in the morning.

    Saving it will always be cheapest to make your own lunch is like saying it will always be cheaper to make your own car. Or your own clothes. There’s no reason why this should be true.

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  44. redeye (631 comments) says:

    Phil wants to end the regulation of cannabis but tighten the regulation around where food is sold. Go figure?

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  45. quirky_username (22 comments) says:

    Why is it that the answer offered to these sort of “problems” is to ban something. How about education? Junk food is just a small part of the problem. Children spend less time in physical play than they used to. Do we ban x-box or playstation? The children are obviously getting their money from somewhere. Do we ban pocket money?
    A treat of lollies, icecream or fish and chips is fine, provided it is not too often and is balanced with exercise. Surely it is more sensible to educate children about healthy choices, exercise, and perhaps budgeting their pocket money, than to simply ban things?

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  46. Hollyfield (69 comments) says:

    Perhaps we should bring back ration cards, like people had to use just after the war. But instead of rationing staple items we should ration junk food.
    (Sarcasm by the way, in case anyone thinks I’m serious.)

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  47. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    (just went back searching for news…and found this…)

    http://whoar.co.nz/2011/why-the-happy-meal-is-a-crime%E2%80%94and-not-just-a-culinary-one/

    “…But I am not interested in debating good or bad parenting.

    Nor am I interested in arguing over whether this lawsuit is a good idea.

    How many calories are in a Happy Meal and whether you can ask for carrots instead of fries is irrelevant to me.

    I am not even going to give you all the scary data about how America’s kids are getting fatter and sicker.

    Nor do I care whether the cause is fast food or video games.

    That’s all been done.

    Instead, let’s talk law.

    Because that minor detail seems to have eluded most of the national conversation about how food companies market to children.

    Our legal system does not allow marketers to advertise just as they wish – either to children or adults.

    We have consumer protection laws because marketers aren’t exactly trustworthy.

    From time to time – they’ve been known to stretch the truth.

    That’s why both at the federal and state levels, the law requires that advertisers not engage in deceptive marketing.

    Otherwise, they would have an unfair advantage over consumers.

    In other words, the law aims to provide a level playing field between the two parties.

    The key legal terms here are “deceptive” and “unfair.”

    Bear with me; I am saving you three years of law school and a grueling bar exam – not to mention years of debt.

    Now, what about marketing to children?

    Ample science, along with statements by various professional organizations tells us that marketing to young children is both deceptive and unfair.

    Why?

    Because young children simply do not have the cognitive capacity to understand that they are being marketed to;…

    … they cannot comprehend “persuasive intent,”- the linchpin of advertising.

    Here’s how the nation’s trade group for kids’ doctors puts it:…

    … “The American Academy of Pediatrics considers advertising directly to young children to be inherently deceptive -

    - and exploits children under the age of 8 years.”

    So, if advertising to young children is inherently deceptive, and deceptive advertising is illegal under federal law and in most states -

    - how is it even happening?

    And doesn’t this mean that not just food, but all marketing to young children is currently illegal?

    I get this question a lot.

    The answer is yes.

    It may seem unsettling to imagine so much illegal activity going on every single day – but it’s really not that unusual.

    The marketplace is chock-full of deceptive advertising that goes unchallenged — aimed at both adults and children.

    It’s the reality of a free marketplace and a government that lacks both the political will and resources to properly enforce the law.

    That’s why we sometimes need lawsuits to fill the void left by government agencies.

    Now I am sure you legal eagles are just waiting to throw the First Amendment in my face.

    You’re thinking, but doesn’t free speech protect McDonald’s right to advertise?

    Yes and no.

    When it comes to kids – mostly no…” (cont..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  48. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    redeye @ 10.15am

    Probably because we are still waiting for someone to die from THC consumption but people are dropping dead from clogged arteries like flies on a Mortein ad.

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  49. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Nasska, do you not take any caution from the obvious deleterious effects THC have had no Phil? Dying is not the only bad thing which can happen to you.

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  50. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Phil wants to end the regulation of cannabis but tighten the regulation around where food is sold. Go figure?..”

    actually..you have that slightly wrong…

    ‘cos i want legalisation…of pot..and regulation of pot..

    ..and one of the many reasons i want that for…is because i want to know what is in my pot…

    …i want to know how it has been grown…and what chemicals/pesticides may have been used…

    ..(is it organic…was it grown using blood and bone/dead animal bits…?)

    …measuring/indication of potency wd also be of benefit for consumers…

    ..(do you just want a light breeze under yr wings…?…maybe hafta write something..?

    ..or d’ya wanta go into serious blob/switch-off-mode…

    …and retire to the couch….remote in hand…

    ..there to drool glassy-eyed at the screen..occaisonally whimpering for sustenance…

    ..and so the pot industry now is very similar to the food industry…

    …in that the food industry also has no regulations..

    (save for basic hygiene/don’t make them vomit..)…

    ..both are cowboy industries….both selling us products we put in our bodies…

    …this makes both the pot and food industries..in not being regulated…

    …as the odd men out….

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    .update:…and what nasska said so succinctly…(unlike me..)

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  51. Megatron (187 comments) says:

    FFS! As with the smacking thing… a few brain-dead thugs ruin it for everyone and so laws are brought in so no one can smack their kids. Does it stop it?..surprise surprise..No. Thanks to these moronic fkwits NZ has a bad reputation for child abuse.
    The majority of parents are caring and do not kill or maim their children.
    Likewise with food…Many parents care and have the skills to feed their kids properly.
    Laws are not going to change anything. Its down to educating about food and exercise. It was taught to us at school.(start with the kids and it will filter down) Say they can’t have it and they will get it somewhere else and want it more.
    Its all about moderation and common sense. Basic really.

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  52. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Dying is not the only bad thing which can happen to you…”

    you could get a swollen amadygala..and a shrunken anterior-cingulate…

    ..and thus become/morph into… a rightwinger….

    ..eh…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  53. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Phil

    Simplistic drivel……….

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  54. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Whew Phil, a readable post, makes a big difference (followed by a stark contrast post).

    Marketing, consumerism and indoctrinating kids with bad habits is a major issue, but without any easy solutions. Today’s parents have already been indoctrinated. Even “home made healthy” lunches are more often than not full of convenient wee packages of processed foods.

    Re-education camps for parents is probably the only way to achieve anything worthwhile.

    Seriously, these are long term problems with long term effects. A recent study suggests that being forced to drink a bottle of milk a day at school may have reduced my chance of getting bowel cancer by something like 30%.

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  55. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    I actually forgot how much Phil ruins this blog.

    Just screen after screen of garbage as I scroll down.

    Does anyone actually finish a phil post?

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  56. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    whew pete…another post from you….makes no difference…

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  57. Diziet Sma (109 comments) says:

    Where oh where is our Internet Jesus to save us from The Devil’s Junk Food??

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  58. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    How many kids have cereal for breakfast? Cereal = garbage. Should that be banned too? No more cartoon tigers or monkeys on the box! no free toys or cards or whatever and certainly no advertising!

    goddam nanny state leftiests

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  59. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    you cd always rip me..there dime..

    ..(someone will have how-to instructions for you…)

    ..and then no worries..!..eh..?

    …you can just sail on in your own little ignorant silence…eh..?

    …only circle-jerking for you …eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  60. redeye (631 comments) says:

    actually..you have that slightly wrong…

    ‘cos i want legalisation…of pot..and regulation of pot..

    Fair enough.

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  61. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..recent study suggests that being forced to drink a bottle of milk a day at school may have reduced my chance of getting bowel cancer by something like 30%…”

    funded by the dairy-industry..?..

    of course the opposing school of thought argues that our worldbeating rates of consumption of animal flesh/fat/blood..and dairy products…

    ..is a major factor in our worldbeating rates of bowel cancer….(and other cancers we lead the world in..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  62. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    A recent study suggests that being forced to drink a bottle of milk a day at school may have reduced my chance of getting bowel cancer by something like 30%………………………….

    Pete FFS
    May have ,recent study, pie in the sky, perhaps, maybe, hopefully, in my dreams, suggests…

    If there was any validity in ..the recent study… it would have been inacted don’t ya think?

    The MMS is full of recent studies everyday that produce a headline and then after reading paragraph two you discover that with another trillion dollars of research grants it may be possible to produce something that is worth publishing ( not inacting) in 30 years which is usually approximate to the retirement age of the study coordinator.

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  63. KevinH (1,132 comments) says:

    My local dairy sells approx. 100 pies to primary school children each morning because they don’t eat breakfast at home.
    The parents of these children are either to lazy, stupid, or can’t organise themselves into simple tasks like making breakfast for their children. Admittedly parents may on occassion purchase breakfast but when it happens every day there is a problem.

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  64. dime (9,472 comments) says:

    phil – i dont believe in that rip think and i dont like firefox :P

    its not that i dont like you, its just that your freaking painful to read when you go over about 5 lines.

    maybe you should get a new “thing”. Ive got the monopoly on hookers though :P

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  65. SteveO (76 comments) says:

    Why do they use 800m as a guide to proximity to a school? Is there anywhere in our urban areas that are not within 800m of a school? Are there any urban schools that are not within 800m of another school? Has there been some study that suggests that school kids enjoy nothing more than a 1.6km stroll at lunch time?

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  66. Rich Prick (1,557 comments) says:

    I love the term “junk food”, which is of course impossible to define. Beef, lettuce, bread and a bit of mayo all sound fine … until one puts it all in a McDonald’s wrapper turning it into pure evil, according to those with a certain fetish for food and meddling.

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  67. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    the world is really quite a simple place for you…eh pauleastbay..?

    ..scary…but simple/easily drawn…eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  68. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Ive got the monopoly on hookers though ..”

    i thought hurf was challenging for that crown..?..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  69. KiwiGreg (3,181 comments) says:

    “Union calls for more regulation and less freedom”

    Hardly news.

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  70. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Phil.

    Your seat belt analogy is a stupid argument.

    I am a safe driver, but I wear a seat belt because someone else might hit me.

    Another person bingeing on macca’s is not going to make me fat.

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  71. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    are you a virgo there..righty..?

    ..got a really tidy bedroom..?

    ..almost anally so..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  72. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    funded by the dairy-industry..?..

    No.

    Study suggests school milk prevents bowel cancer

    Scientists at the University of Otago have found that regular consumption of school milk significantly reduced the risk of bowel cancer in adulthood.

    A national study, just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology School Milk and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A National Case-Control Study, found that the risk of bowel cancer was 30 percent lower in people who drank school milk daily. The reduction in risk was greatest in those who drank 1200 or more half-pint bottles of milk while at school.

    The study was conducted by Associate Professor Brian Cox and Dr Mary Jane Sneyd of the Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine of the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago. The researchers are funded by the Director’s Cancer Research Trust. Grants-in-aid for the study were provided by the Genesis Oncology Trust, and the Dean’s Bequest Funds of the Dunedin School of Medicine.

    Who’d have thought state supplied nutrition could have such significant long term effects.

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  73. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    then of course there was that infamous study at auck uni…

    ..funded by the dairy industry..

    ..and intending to prove the health-giving properties of cow-milk…

    ..the study had to be hurridly pulled…

    ..as the human subjects were suffering serious ill-health symptoms/outcomes..

    …from their consumption of the sponsors-product…

    …i have been long puzzled the mainstream media has studiously ignored that one..

    …it positively screams for a metro/nh sth/listener expose/doing over..

    …i have always put their reluctance down to the advertising-buy power of that industry…

    ..corruption has many faces…eh…?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  74. Psycho Milt (2,269 comments) says:

    Actually, this is why you really, really don’t want to start letting the govt regulate what you should eat – because there are a huge number of people out there with weird ideas on what you should eat, including ones like Phil who are under the impression that sugar, salt and fat are poisons, and that the nitrogen and phosphorus that plants get from blood and bone fertiliser is qualitatively different to the nitrogen and phosphorus from non-animal sources. Best just to give this whole regulatory area a wide berth.

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  75. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Pete.. from your link

    The researchers believe that the calcium provided by the free milk-in-schools programme from 1937 to 1967 may be responsible for the dramatic reduction in risk of bowel cancer that has occurred in New Zealand for people born between 1938 and 1953.

    The research team is currently planning further research which, if funding can be obtained, could confirm that the provision of milk at school can significantly reduce the risk of bowel cancer in future generations.”………………………….

    Believe.. if funding can be obtaining. etc etc…

    Call me cynical but really they have floated an idea for more funding, nothing is proved at all, there will be several reasons not just milk. There is in fact nothing to suggest that state supplied anything has had any effect

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  76. adze (1,870 comments) says:

    Paul, that’s one thing that struck me when I did my psych. degree at Vic, every report we did had to include a variation of “further study will…” in the conclusion. It’s ingrained.

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  77. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    published in the American Journal of Epidemiology
    School Milk and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A National Case-Control Study

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  78. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “…including ones like Phil who are under the impression that sugar, salt and fat are poisons..”

    in the excessive amounts in the usual diet…they become poisons..

    …didn’t you see that spurlock-flick..?

    “… and that the nitrogen and phosphorus that plants get from blood and bone fertiliser is qualitatively different to the nitrogen and phosphorus from non-animal sources..”

    no..it is just that as a vegan..(for mainly ‘animal’-reasons)..i wd rather my pot wasn’t grown using animal bits…

    ..it’s as simple as that…

    (nice try on the ad hominem tho’…is that all you’ve got..?

    …better scurry back to yr rightwing coven now…eh..?…)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  79. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Pete
    I read the link, its a press release about a study that has been published in an American Journal, that doesn’t make it fact.

    I hope that research will enable cures for numerous afflictions but this post is about Pat Walsh talking bollocks, as I said earlier my son boarded at his school last year and ( the little shit) he bought takeaways most days from the canteen

    Whats next Pete, .. regulated hours of food consumption, please, stop reading press releases.

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  80. ben (2,399 comments) says:

    God I wish the do-gooders would just fuck off. Is it really too much to ask that they simply let parents and their children get on with their lives?

    Increasing obesity is mainly about sedentary lifestyles, not diet.

    There is almost no relationship between obesity and health costs, except at the very extremes.

    There is a trade off: to be thin you have to forgo a high calorie diet and/or being sedentary. Some people choose not to make the trade. Obesity is a reliable product of preferences. You might as well tell people who’s favourite colour is blue they are wrong.

    There is no evidence policy can make any difference at a population level. Obesity is here to stay. Spending tens of millions convincing fat people they are wrong/immoral/guilty to be that way is not only a waste of time, but no doubt a source of tremendous anxiety for them: this is a pure loss in welfare, and paid for by your taxes.

    Finally, the ‘obesity epidemic’ is plainly a trojan horse being pushed not by your average citizen, but by people who don’t like profits or corporations or the liberty to choose your own nourishment. The obese are simply caught in the crossfire of these people who will use any excuse, however base or untrue, to beat up companies that produce a product that a lot of people actually like.

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  81. adze (1,870 comments) says:

    Unlike pot (THC) however, salt and fat ARE nutrients…

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  82. DJP6-25 (1,274 comments) says:

    Great idea! Think of all the job opportunities for socialists with degrees in Dike Studies and Art History! Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? [Sarcasam off]

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  83. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Actually, I’ve changed my mind.

    We should remove all fast food outlets from low socio economic areas. I’d like to see where Labour takes people on election day day trips then!

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  84. nasska (10,696 comments) says:

    If we are going to pay heed to some over educated pedant who probably has had only had a fleeting encounter with the real world why stop at fast food. There are plenty of comments above suggesting that lack of exercise could as big a problem as rogue calories. After all the human body with say a 2000cal intake is not going to store fat with a 2000 cal expenditure on exercise.

    First to the wall could be the wretched women who must drop their sperm & egg omelets at the school gate lest the poor wee souls over exert themselves walking or cycling to school. The exercise could use up some of their breakfast chocolate Cocoapops & probably see off a few of the calories in a lunchtime pie.

    It is also something within the pedagogue’s area of control & may give him something to occupy his time should he have already sorted out NCEA, National Standards & peace in the Middle East.

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  85. Christopher Thomson (375 comments) says:

    Can I state here that the ramblings by the PhilU don’t count as posts of any benefit.

    Line after double spaced line of incoherence were not missed during the holiday period.

    Like a lot of other readers I don’t bother and simply scroll past anything that has the PhilU handle in the title. And generally it puts me off reading any more of the posts.

    I appreciate it is a thorny topic but can’t something be done to resolve what is clearly an irritating and detracting poster?

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  86. Psycho Milt (2,269 comments) says:

    nice try on the ad hominem tho’…is that all you’ve got..?

    I don’t think it’s ad hominem to use your ideas on food as examples of ones outside the mainstream. You’re not exactly typical now, are you?

    A quick squizz down this thread should give you an idea of the range of strongly-held opinion on obesity, its causes, appropriate diets and the benefits of regulation. Whose strongly-held opinion should be inflicted on the nation’s dairy and chip shop owners and enforced at great expense by servants of government?

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  87. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    thomson..ask someone how to rip me…

    ..then you won’t even have to know conversations are going on..

    …prefer to be comfortably numb..?…do you..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  88. annie (537 comments) says:

    More social engineering from teachers, wish they’d spend their time doing what they’re meant to be doing instead. 20% subliteracy rates, and they are spending their energy on micirmanaging dairy sales?

    Which is a form of pissing in the wind, in any case.

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  89. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    We should just count ourselves lucky that in NZ our poor are fat and our rich are thin. No wonder we fled Victorian England where it was the other way round.

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  90. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Whose strongly-held opinion should be inflicted on the nation’s dairy and chip shop owners and enforced at great expense by servants of government?

    None.

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  91. ben (2,399 comments) says:

    Uh, Phil. Enough. Enough of your nonsense, your inane ideas, and goddamned endless use of the full stop. You’re only back a day and already its tired.

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  92. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    rip me ben..rip me…

    ..or harden-up…eh..?

    …(they are only dots…eh..?..)

    ..and which idea do you deem ‘inane’…?..and why..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  93. NX (602 comments) says:

    I learnt something interesting the other day that is kinda related to this post – weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I’m not sure if the same applies for kids but it sure was an eye opener for me! Screw wasting time at the gym, eating better is far more important.

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  94. Michael (896 comments) says:

    It might just be me, but aren’t schools and fast food outlets located near town centres on major roads? Surely that is the more likely coincidence than a delibrate policy of having fast food near schools.

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  95. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    More ignorance and crap from DPF.

    And this post perfectly sums it up, really:

    KevinH (140) Says:
    January 25th, 2011 at 10:51 am
    My local dairy sells approx. 100 pies to primary school children each morning because they don’t eat breakfast at home.
    The parents of these children are either to lazy, stupid, or can’t organise themselves into simple tasks like making breakfast for their children.

    My problem with this?

    Ignoring totally any societal disconnects that produce these lazy, stupid or disorganised parents, it’s not the kids fault that they have lazy, stupid or disorganised parents. And believe it or not (childless DPF may not know about this!) children DO need to be protected from themselves!

    Something else that DPF either doesn’t know about, or doesn’t care about, or that just skimmed his head is that teachers I know reported how much better behaved in class kids were when Labour forced schools to stop providing junk food and drink.

    And their marks improved!

    Plus most, if not all, schools have not returned to the menu of old even when “liberated” by the current government.

    Schools and teachers actually care about their kids, but they sometimes need the government to impose stuff to override parent pressure.

    But that won’t stop serial teacher basher DPF from peddling his uninformed views, will it?

    And it won’t stop John Morris from performing a disservice for his pupils in the name of enhanced sporting performance.

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  96. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    Was going to reply but Luc summed it up perfectly above.

    When you get out of NZ you realise just how obese of a country it is and how, with a pubically funded health system, it is a ticking financial time bomb as well, not to mention hard on the eyes.

    And yes, you can get a pie and coke for $2, try nearly any manurewa dairy, its pretty messed up (well you could a year ago anyhow).

    On the other hand, McD’s and co is actually not as cheap as it is in some countries when compared to healthier alternatives, which is something (£1.39 double cheeseburgers).

    Basically it comes down to bad parenting yes, but as society has to deal with the results surely it makes sense to make positive changes where society can, i.e. school cafeterias, but ideolists over realists put an end to that in one of Nationals more shitty policies.

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  97. Rich Prick (1,557 comments) says:

    For the love of God, we worry about kiddie fiddlers, yet we have lefties wanting to fiddle with what kids eat? Piss off. What business of your’s is it anyway? Luc, if you think you have some God-given right to tell me how my children should eat you can start paying for it. Otherwise fuck off.

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  98. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    I seriously think that I would rather of been fiddled once as a child than brought up my entire life being obese . Both are terrible but the later will destroy my health as well alongside my self respect.

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  99. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Bravo Luc. DPF would rather be ruled by ideology here than pragmatism. I think he would oppose regulation of fast food near schools even if he was certain that kids health, and learning, and life expectancy would improve as a result. Kids with “bad” parents should have the right to poison themselves everyday, to blight their futures, and become ticking time bombs for the taxpayer.

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  100. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Pragmatist says…
    Let’s prevent any more food food outlets being built near schools, so that our kids are healthier, learn better, and don’t grow up to become burdens on society.

    Libertarian says …
    No we shouldn’t do that. Because parents should be providing them with a cheap homemade lunch and not giving them money for crap.

    Pragmatist says…
    I agree that parents SHOULD do that. Many do. But many don’t. This is a way to improve the health of those with parents that don’t.

    Libertarian says …
    But I’d rather find a way of making the parents into good parents.

    Pragmatist says…
    There are many initiatives that try to do that. Some of them succeed to some degree. But we are unlikely to have a situation where 100% of parents are perfect anytime soon. In the meantime, why not do this to improve the health of a lot of children?

    Libertarian says…
    Because it interferes with the freedom of some kids to have fast food occasionally as part of balanced diet. It interferes with the freedom of other kids who don’t care about their health to have fast food all the time. And it interferes with the freedom of retailers to sell to these kids.

    Pragmatist says…
    Yes it does interfere with these freedoms. Freedom is important. But some freedoms are way more important than others. We’re not talking about free speech here or the right not to be waterboarded, or to marry whoever you want. We’re talking about restricting some (not all) of the locations that people may set up new fast food outlets, in order to have a healthier, more educated, more productive population with a higher ratio of workers/taxpayers to beneficiaries. What’s more important?

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  101. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Pragmatist is an idiot who understands much less than he thinks he does.

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  102. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Libertarian says…
    OK Smart arse. This is what we do. We abolish publicly funded healthcare, and everything will sort itself out in about 50 years. The kids with bad parents will soon get sick, and they won’t be able to pay for health care, so they will die. Hopefully before they reproduce themselves. But even if they manage to squeeze out a few kiddies the kiddies will be orphans so they will almost certainly die before they get to reproduce. If they somehow manage to survive then they must have superhuman qualities, and their genes will be a welcome addition to the human race. By 2061 NZ will be a land of self reliant superheroes like Ayn Rand.

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  103. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    If this pragmatist has the knowledge to transform lives by using some kind of feng shui of community layout, he should perhaps establish a church and bring followers under his teachings.

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  104. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    The pragmatist doesn’t claim to have any kind of special knowledge. Isn’t it just quite likely that if there is less fast food being offered for sale near schools then kids will eat less fast food? Obviously there should be pilot studies to make sure that this is the result, and if it isn’t then the policy should be discontinued. But is there is evidence that it works why wouldn’t we do it?

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  105. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Because making decisions for other people doesn’t work.

    Everybody other than the parents and children has less knowledge than them.

    Everybody other than the parents and children do not experience the consequences of those decisions.

    willtruth, change the world through your own children, not everybody elses. There should be a lifetime of work-ons in your own family.

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  106. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Luc,

    ffs what is stopping a school deciding what to sell on site today? I’m sure if the board decides no fizzy drinks in the cafeteria then they can do that. People don’t need a government mandate to make a decision for them.

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  107. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “Because making decisions for other people doesn’t work.”

    But it does work sometimes. We don’t allow shops to sell alcohol and cigarettes to children, even when the children themselves want to buy them and even when the parents might have given the kids money to buy these things. This policy hasn’t eliminated the harm that is caused by alcohol and cigarettes, but most people think that it helps. Or do you disagree? Do you think shops should be able to sell alcohol and cigarettes to children?

    Or do you think that it doesn’t always work? I agree with that. In which case we need to do a study and see if it works in this case. But you seem to be saying that it never ever works ever. Big call…

    “Everybody other than the parents and children has less knowledge than them.”

    About some things yes. They don’t know the thoughts and feelings of the kids. But they do know that if the kids have less access to junk food they will probably eat less junk food.

    “Everybody other than the parents and children do not experience the consequences of those decisions.”

    I’m sorry but that is wrong. Both you and I pay more tax now, and will pay even more tax in the future paying to fix the health problems that result from those decisions. And that is just the direct consequences. I also live in a society where people are less educated and have more behavioural problems, are more likely to become criminals etc.

    “willtruth, change the world through your own children, not everybody elses. There should be a lifetime of work-ons in your own family.”

    I don’t see these things as mutually exclusive. And even the best parents could do with some help. Let’s face it, the majority of parents would like it if they had more control over what their kids ate and it would help if their kids did not walk past fast food joints every single day.

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  108. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    And I’m not saying that a big mac is as damaging as a pack of cigarettes. I’m just saying that most people agree with me that making a decision for other people sometimes (in this case children who want to buy cigarettes, or parents who want to allow their children to buy cigarettes) is effective in reducing the massive harm that can flow from allowing those decisions to be made. And they also agree that if it is effective then it is worth compromising these freedoms in order for society as a whole to benefit.

    If the regulation of fast food near schools also has massive benefits then I think we should do it. Of course we should be sure that it does have these benefits, so we should do studies. But you seem to somehow know already that it won’t work, and that there is no point doing any studies because we already know that making decisions for other people never ever works ever under any circumstances ever.

    I think you should start a church for people who already know everything already and never have to carry out any scientific research to test an idea.

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  109. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    It’s totally impractical restricting “fast food” and unhealthy food near schools. It just moves the problem. And it would be impossible to achieve fairly.

    Would you effectively force a dairy or fish and chip shop to close? What if it is the only shop in the town/suburb? What if it is also close to a working population?

    What if a supermarket was nearby – should that be restricted? Only during school hours? Or only to school aged children? What about their parents? The more you look at how it could be done the more impossible, unfair and futile it looks.

    Incidentally – how many dairy and fast food operators are obese?

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  110. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Meh, all this talk about benefits to the individual’s health, but what about the quality of life? Who are we to attempt to regulate how an individual chooses to live their life when it comes to a largely personal choice? Yes, they may live longer and be healthier if they don’t eat so much junk food, but that’s a value judgement they’re making. They are choosing to enjoy junk food at the probable expense of some health and longevity. Why should our value judgement that a longer and healthier life is better trump their judgement that a life where they can consume unhealthily and which is potentially shorter because of it is better? There is no clear market failure here and nobody has shown that the utility loss to those who consume unhealthily will be outweighed by the benefits.

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  111. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    At the end of the day, we’re also considering secondary students many of whom have the use of cars. If things are still as they were when I was at college, many will be on learners or restricted licenses. What will the incentive effect be of reducing proximity of places that sell food deemed to be unhealthy near schools? And just how hard it would be to determine which places should not be allowed to – Tussock, the Massey University bar/cafe is near Wellington High and it serves unhealthy food, for example, how would you regulate that?

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  112. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Aha so at least we have some progress with Pete G. He isn’t saying we shouldn’t do it even if it worked. He just doesn’t think we could get it to work. OK then, but does that mean you would support it if it did work? And does that mean you would support doing a pilot study to see if it works? Personally I am sure that it would make some difference, and I find it hard to understand people who think that it wouldn’t. There is already plenty opf evidence that kids who go to schools with fast food in close proximity are more obese.

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/3/505

    You don’t need to close down shops to make a difference. It would help if we simply had less fast food shops opening next to schools. But if we tried it and it didn’t work then I would be the first to argue against the policy. But I would be very surprised.

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  113. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Jive Kitty. I guess you could say that if they want to kill themsleves then why should we stop them. But these are children, not adults. And we are not stopping them. They can still get McDonalds if they really want, and they will. Just less often. Yes it is a bit paternalistic and nanny state. I think that they will ultimately be a lot happier as a result of having their freedom contrained ever so slightly. I don’t think that makes me Stalin. Aren’t we supposed to be paternalistic with children? Set boundaries and all that. And aren’t parents entitled to exercise some control over the fast food retailers who want to sell fast food to children against the will of those parents?

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  114. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Luc.

    Schools should be responsible for the quality of the food supplied by it. I’m sure DPF would agree with you, but this is not the issue addressed by this topic.

    Whta is being discussed is the possibility of regulating the trade of private businesses in the vicinity of schools, or messing with peoples livelihoods.

    I would rather these shops sold healthy alternatives, but if they did, they wouldn’t be around for very long. If we help our kids make better choices, then a wise business owner would cater to that.

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  115. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Jive Kitty again.

    If you are saying that there may be unintended consequences such as kids who drive may end up doing more driving to get to the fast food joints, and that this may lead to more car accidents .. then I agree. This might happen. But I would be extremely surprised if the effect was very significant. Any studies would need to check that.

    And yes it will sometimes be hard to determine which are the places where you shouldn’t be allowed to open a new fast food joint. Sometimes the right decisions won’t get made. In the end it will probably be down to the staff of local democratically elected councils to interpret the law and decide. An they won’t always make the best decisions. But on – average – you would have less junk food being offered for sale near schools. And I would be very very surprised if that did not result in less junk food being consumed by students. But we should do studies and find out for sure.

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  116. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Very difficult to trial willtruth – just about every school situation in relation to food outlets will be different. And what businesses would be selected to potentially be put at risk, or closed, in the trials?

    And what would the restrictions be based on? Sugar content? Would the sugar content of an apple or orange juice pass? They vary substantially. An immature apple ok but a ripe apple too sweet? This may seem like silly examples but if you try and restrict based on healthiness then much silliness is bound to be the result.

    Tobacco is easy to isolate and regulate. Sugar and fat are not, especially as some of both is essential in our diets.

    I think the key word to start with in this is “school”. Associated with that is “education”. Educate kids and parents as well as you can about what is healthy-ish and what is not, but ultimately individuals will make their own choices anyway.

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  117. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    And….quality of food is one issue, but more importantly is quantity. How do you regulate quantity? Mouth meters?

    And…food is essential for brain activity – if you cut off preferred food supplies what effect could that have on education?

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  118. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Basically it comes down to bad parenting yes, but as society has to deal with the results surely it makes sense to make positive changes where society can, i.e. school cafeterias, ..

    What a load of bollocks.
    All do-gooders in the world will not change the situation. More regulations and controls will prove useless.

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  119. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    “Sometimes the right decisions won’t get made. In the end it will probably be down to the staff of local democratically elected councils to interpret the law and decide. An they won’t always make the best decisions. But on – average – you would have less junk food being offered for sale near schools. And I would be very very surprised if that did not result in less junk food being consumed by students. But we should do studies and find out for sure.”

    My point is not that less junk food will be consumed near schools, which you are likely correct in stating, but that there are likely to be unintended consequences and significant problems with implementation which involve others being penalised unfairly, even if not considering the targeting unfair.

    These are also not just children. They are teenagers. By then, they should know what is and is not good for their health. It is in their teenage years that the paternalistic gestures should begin to be phased out as part of their steps to adulthood, not introduced.

    If there is a problem, and I’m not saying there is, a nudge is better than a regulation. An example would be increased education (they may know what constitutes unhealthy food, but not have thought through the ramifications) around what constitutes unhealthy food and what alternatives are tasty and can be easily prepared (by my teenage years, I was certainly bored with sandwiches of white bread and some spread or meat). It encourages them to make the healtheir choice without restricting their choices. It also diminishes unintended consequences and probably of key importance, it means that they make an educated choice: they know why they are doing what they are, and they know the likely results of such actions.

    “And aren’t parents entitled to exercise some control over the fast food retailers who want to sell fast food to children against the will of those parents?”

    No.

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  120. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Well, not directly anyway. Do the best to exercise control over your own children and even try to teach them values such as fast food being a horrible and bad thing if you so wish. But accept that sometimes they will disobey, accept that sometimes they will make value judgements you disagree with and accept that when they’re teenagers your control will likely be loosening. It is manifestly unjust to expect that food retailers, other consumers and so-on should suffer where this occurs. Fast food retailers are there to sell goods, not to provide a parenting service.

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  121. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    “And aren’t parents entitled to exercise some control over the fast food retailers who want to sell fast food to children against the will of those parents?”

    No.

    Actually – yes (as you have added). By not allowing their children to shop at those retailers, or discouraging them as much as possible. Providing plenty of good healthy food options at home is one of the best ways to deal with it. And teaching by example good eating habits.

    If parents want their kids to become responsible drivers they teach them responsible habits – and show by example. They shouldn’t try and close roads near their children.

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  122. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Attempted to clarify that, Pete, but thanks.

    Make healthy food sexy. It’s not hard to do. Then your children are unlikely to want the crap that’s at a place like McDonald’s or even the overpriced mediocrity that is a sandwich at Subway.

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  123. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Pete G. I agree that there would be tricky issues. But the problems are not insurmountable. In the end it will come down to the judgement of decision-makers. I think everyone agrees that apples are OK. That won’t be a problem. Some things will be more borderline. But we would just need a few legal precedents and it would settle down. It is already happening in the UK. Under a conservative government no less.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10300773

    You don’t need to regulate quantity of food in order to get a benefit. Yes it is possible for people to get fat eating healthy food. But they are much less likely to. Regulating junk food only would probably make a huge difference.

    Yes food is essential for brain activity. But are you saying that if kids don’t get to eat junk food and eat healthy food instead then this will impair their mental performance? Pull the other one … Do you have any evidence for this novel theory?

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  124. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    “I think everyone agrees that apples are OK.” But some don’t agree bananas are. And that’s no way to make a law anyway. Broad yet tight definitions are necessary and they’re tricky things as was pointed out around here when there was a suggestion that GST be removed from fresh fruit and vegetables.

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  125. Brian Smaller (3,999 comments) says:

    You would get better health mileage by banning play stations and dvd players. Lazy fat kids sitting on their arses surrounded by lazy fat parents are the problem. Allow kids under 14 to get paid work again, and youth rates to let people employ them. and they might get some benefit – being out and about riding a bike doing a paper round or cleaning the local factory smoko room out (both jobs I had as a 12 year old).

    I can see a good line in selling pies out of the back of a van outside Naenae college at lunchtimes. Hey man, have you tried some Irvines? Steak and mince will get you that buzz you are looking for.

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  126. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Jive and Pete

    We do heaps of education already, at vast expense. I’m sure it has some effect, but we still have a huge problem. Why not have regulation as well, if it would reduce the problem?

    Maybe you could try some sort of nudge technique instead of regulation. That would be an even better solution. I would be in favour of that. But I’m not aware that anyone has suggested anything. Do you have any ideas? Education is not really a nudge technique, and we do that anyway. Making healthy food sexy would work, but the problem is that Mcdonald’s doesn’t do that. They have a few token healthy-ish things but no-one buys them. No retailer seems to be doing that of their own volition. If you wanted to force them to do more in that regard I guess that might work, but that’s not nudge, that’s regulation.

    As for things which are manifestly unjust, I guess it is a matter of what you think is important. I think that it is more important for children to be healthy. You seem to think think it is more important for Mcdonalds to be able to open yet another branch right across the road from a school, even if that causes health problem for the children, and even if that means that you and I end up having to pay a much higher tax bill.

    You also seem to think that there are huge implementation problems. Maybe around the fringes, but stopping a pizza hut or Mcdonalds from opening up across the road from a school would not be a hard thing to do and it would make a huge difference. For that school. I don’t know why you can’t see that.

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  127. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    No time anymore, sorry. Children = emotive. These are teenagers.

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  128. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    But stopping a Pizza Hut or Mcdonalds from opening up across the road from a school would not be a hard thing to do and it would make a huge difference.

    Who says so? Where did you get your dictator and supreme ruler’s aspirations from?

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  129. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Luc’s argument is simplistic & unrealistic. If parents don’t prepare their kids breakfasts @ home before they go to school, then those kids would be skinny, since they’re going hungry to school. A pie a day from the school corner store wouldn’t make a kid obese. It is what they eat regularly outside school, ie @ home. It is not the pie that makes them fat, it is their lifestyle/inactivity.

    Luc’s other argument is if the kids are well fed in the morning from home, then they would perform better. If that’s the case, then all the island community leaders in South Auckland do is to donate food to their local schools so kids can have breakfasts which will lead to improvements of their learning. I bet anyone that if this happens, the performance of those kids will not be elevated to be the same as a school in Epsom or Remuera and that’s a guarantee.

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  130. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Never underestimate the power of a teenager to get what they want.

    I remember when the Tuck-shops were forced to provide healthy food. I went to McDonalds by the basin reserve one lunchtime and the place was full of Wellington College pupils. Now, this sort of food once in a while as part of a healthy lifestyle is not an issue, but a healthy lifestyle does not just happen. It has to be taught.

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  131. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “But some don’t agree bananas are. And that’s no way to make a law anyway. Broad yet tight definitions are necessary”

    I disagree. For example, and off the top of my head, you could have a broad law that says that councils have a discretion not to grant planning permission for new outlets that propose selling unhealthy food within x metres of a school. (There are heaps of vague laws like this. Councils are supoosed to stop development which interferes with “outstanding natural beauty” in a landscape, and if councils and courts can get that to work they could get this to work. Beauty is a much more subjective concept than healthfulness). If a local council was elected by a community that didn’t want any more junk food outlets opening near their schools, then it would want to serve this community and use this discretion to veto proposed junk food outlets near schools. If McDonald or whoever wanted to appeal the decision and say that their food is not unhealthy food then good luck to them. They would almost certainly lose and they would incur massive legal fees and negative publicity for trying to go against the wishes of the community. A fish and chip shop, would simply not have the resources to take such a case. If a new shop was proposing to sell something a little more borderline, then it would be interesting, and the council wouild have to make a tactical decision about what to do. But the result of the law would be that there would be less junk food outlets on average setting up shop next to schools. That would be beneficial.

    The comparison with GST is not valid. Yes they do have sales tax exemptions on certain food in the UK and yes that causes stupid court cases (are jaffa cakes a biscuit or a cake?) and I agree that it would better if they just had GST on everything like in NZ. But tax is something that applies across the whole country. It is worth it for companies to try fiddles and take court cases. Whether a shop can open somewhere or not is much more cut and dried. I don’t think it is worth it for McDonalds to take a massive court case to try and persuade a court that a community should regard a double thickshake mcflurry triple bypass special as healthy. Maybe it might cause them to revise their menus to enable them to set up near schools. What a fantastic result that would be.

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  132. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Don’t bother with so many legal hurdles you want to impose on legitimate businesses. Just export yourself to North Korea or Cuba to feel at home.

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  133. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Ok.

    On tax, get off your high horse about other peoples tax being used to pay healthcare for obese people. Tax is taken from people coercively, it is a form of government provided healthcare and because tax is taken coercively the government is obligated to provide that healthcare to all. If you are unwilling to pay the cost of the incentives this situation brings, then change the system. Stop taxing people for healthcare and allow people the freedom to enter into an arrangement with a health insurance provider who agrees a price for their risk bracket. Unless we are going to go down this route, then we have to suck it up and provide the healthcare services we are obligated to.

    If a school does not like having a dairy or other shop nearby, then the school is free to move its premises, I see no reason everybody else needs to pay the cost of somebody elses perceived benefit.

    If society has an obesity problem then stop bullying the children and ration the adults. We’ve done it before in WWII, it is adults who experience the costs of healthcare but some sick individuals seem to have it in their heads that picking on children is the way to deal with it.

    If you want to reduce obesity in children then get them exercising. Extend lunch break to 2 hours and have the kids walk laps around the school field for an hour.

    Fat, salt, and sugar are all essential and healthy foods. Steve Gurney has a pie and beer after finishing a coast to coast, league players eat pizza before a game, ultra marathon runners eat fish and chips beforehand. You could not defend any non-poisonous restrictions in a fair legal challenge.

    Policing food shops near to the school will at best slow down calorie consumption for about 10 minutes. By 10 past 3 kids will be out of any restricted area, they will travel on foot up to 5 ks after school and you can’t restrict outlets everywhere they choose to go (have a look at the food court of a suburban mall at 4 o’clock, or outside the fish and chip shop in the beach in summer). Then when they get home they will have a freezer full of $1 countdown pies like my mother provided for me, and I was fit and healthy.

    And McDonalds, and Dairies will provide healthy food in a flash if it sells, it is consumers who dictate the menus of these places. They provide a welcome and wanted service to their communities, get off their case.

    Society is what we make of it together, it does not contain a subset of smarter people that know better how the other people should live their lives. A free society will in the end be healthier and more prosperous than that ordered by any group of benevolent dictators. An indicator of a free and healthy society is that you should find most of it not to your taste, because most people have a different opinion to any one individual has, the existence of Britney Spears, KFC, and bridge clubs is testament to that.

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  134. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Manolo

    Haha the old call your opponent hitler/mao/Stalin trick. You must be proud of that interjection. What I suggested is hardly totalitarian, and is similar to things that councils can already do. For example a council in nz can already veto a proposal to build a supermarket next to a primary school on the grounds that the extra traffic will be a danger to the young children. A supermarket is a legitimate business but it is also legitimate for a community to ask that it is not sited so close to a school as to endanger that communities’ children. The council is elected by the community. it’s called democracy. If you don’t like it then maybe you are the one who should move to north Korea

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  135. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    We don’t live in a true willtruth, we have a bill of rights and courts of justice and we should have a constitution.

    51% are not allowed to order the other 49% on anything they like. Otherwise you have slavery (and we are part way there already).

    And the council should get their nose out of where schools and supermarkets want to build. This interference is why our house prices are so high.

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  136. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Preivous post should say ‘true democracry’ in the first sentence.

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  137. ben (2,399 comments) says:

    As always the socialists completely ignore government failure and unintended consequences. As if the government can pass a law, any law, and expect to have any effect whatsoever on obesity. It can’t. No government has. There is no reason expect they will. Even if you pass a law, say, banning the sale of pies within 1km of a school, the kids will simply organise a way around it, within minutes. Nothing will be achieved except to deprive everyone – fat or not – of yet another liberty for precisely zero benefit to anyone.

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  138. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Supermarkets and fast food outlets already have to jump through hoops getting resource consent. If parents or schools are concerned in their own area they can oppose any new proposals. Tough with existing ones though 0- unless they want to campaign for change. Try demonstrating outside the local fish and chip shop at lunchtime and see if you get 51% support.

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  139. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Willtruth, you need to do some reading on what rights is first. After that, then you realize that your being a state-worshiper is a violation of that inalienable thing called rights. Rights is primary and not secondary. Your reasoning, starts from secondary (welfare of others) and as a result violates the primary (ie, rights of the owner to his/her properties). You need some education on a very simple topic such as that, because it doesn’t involve complex differential calculus that you may struggle in reading about it. A take-away shop that has been set up near a school is the legitimate rights of the owner/s to do so. A government that legislate or regulate to ban the owner/s from doing so (in the name of protecting obese children – secondary) is a rights violation.

    How about you start @ Not PC blog and dig around there, because he has some excellent articles there on objective philosophy & rights. As I said, that they’re not hard to read. Once you understand what rights is, then come back here to debate.

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  140. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Herman
    I guess on tax I just think it is a good thing if a policy results in everyone paying less tax. Of course it depends on the other effects of the policy. If there are so many undesirable consequences of the policy, that they outweigh the good then we shouldn’t do it. But all I see is less tax, better health, better education, etc and the only cost is that
    Mcdonald’s or someone has to build their new outlet a little further away from the school if that is what the local community wants.

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  141. ben (2,399 comments) says:

    Willtruth, the simpler solution is to allow parents to send their kids to schools not near fast food outlets, if that is in fact what they care about. Allow competition, rather than coercion, find the optimal outcome.

    You speak of shifting a restaurant a little further away as if that doesn’t involve tens or hundreds of millions of costs (in view of the hundreds that will presumably have to move). Of course it is costly to do that, and directly or indirectly it will be New Zealanders who wear that cost.

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  142. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Don’t confuse the local community with a handful of busybodies.

    McDonalds would never build where a community doesn’t want them, and if they did, they would promptly shut down or move.

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  143. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Will, start living your own life without attempting to meddle in others’. Only then you will start to appreciate, as Falafulu pointed out, where your rights begin and end.

    Do-gooderism has caused more misery than you ever imagine. Instead of worshipping the state and asking for more government regulations just think of the law of unintended consequences.

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  144. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    willtruth,

    Exercise throughout you life is far more important to your health than a few pies at school. Better bang for your buck could be had by requiring all working adults to assemble in the nearest park or square and midday for half hour tai chi exercises.

    If you have a beef with health costs imposed on the state, go after adults, don’t bully children.

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  145. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Falafulu
    Thanks for the lesson on rights but I am well versed on that. Most people agree that some rights eg the right to life or the right not to be tortured should never be compromised. And they also agree that other rights are not inviolable and can be circumscribed by law when there are good reasons. You seem to think that the right to private property is inviolable, whereas most people recognize that it should be tempered by the need to make sure that land use does not impact unreasonably on their neighbours and the community. I bet you would object if your neighbour wanted to build a 50 story building and block out 100 % of your sun. So there should be some restrictions and those restrictions should be decided democratically. What other way is there?

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  146. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Herman
    I agree that exercise is also useful. However forced group exercises for adults is a little totalitarian for my tastes.

    Ben
    Who said anything about shifting a restaurant? I’m talking about stopping new restaurants when the school was there first. As for the school having to shift away from the restaurant as a solution, come on.

    As for parents being able to choose to send their kids to schools without fast food outlets nearby, well there won’t be any such schools unless we give communities some power over where such outlets are sited .

    Ok bedtime for me now as I am in the Uk . Happy debating

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  147. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    willtruth
    Like any nanny state protagonist, in the pursuit of ideological purity (kids eating heathy foods) you are prepared to abbrogate both the rights on individuals to eat what they want in a free society and for businesses to ply their trade without excessive market distorting intervention with laws that will never achieve the lofty aims they set out to achieve. Any ordinance passed restricting the siting of new ‘fatty food’ businesses will merely have the effect of boosting the profits of those purveyors of ‘fatty food’ who will essentially be grandfathered at their current locations – the net amount of evil fast food consumed by kids from that school – unchanged.

    You clearly know little about teenagers and their eating habits or can barely remember your own teenage years. The adolescent body needs large amounts of protein and carbs to fuel their bone. muscle and brain growth – its why they eat so much and so often. If they do not get sufficient of these basics then they graze usually on foods that give the quickest hits of the things their bodies crave – fat and sugar hence the appeal of chippies, pies, junk food and fizzy drinks. Its not rocket science. School can offer tofu sandwiches, wholemeal lentil pizzas and salads in their tuck shops but the kids will buy the junk food they crave at the nearest dairy/fast food outlet. If a dairy is banned from being near the school, they’ll just go further a field – a possie will pile into cars and drive past the greenie nanny state enforced food safe zone to locations that serve what they want.

    The purists lecture us that education is the answer. I believe that the vast bulk of what Mum made for my lunches was healthy – there were heaps of sandwiches and usually an apple or a banana and mostly if filled me up but sometimes on the way home I bought a pie or a packet of Twisties because I was still hungry and I still ate food when I got home. A mate is married to a hard core health nut and his wife makes the absolutely best healthy food you can imagine. Their fridge and cupboards are like a mini health food shop. They have 2 teenage boys and a 21 year old sports nut at home. They are a happy communicative family with the parents both making and eating healthy food and trying to teach their kids to eat healthy. These boys eat junk food all the time away from home – why – becasue as good and as healthy as their diet is ITS NOT ENOUGH and its not what they like and crave – they openly admit what is happening despite all the eduating going on AND the availability of really tasty yummy healthy food. When my mate’s wife goes back to her home state, they all live on steaks, takeaways and fatty food because they crave it and know that mum disapproves. How on earth do you pass laws regulating this! Answer – you cant and if you do, kids will find a way to eat what they want. I kept the fat off during those years when I ate so much supplementary fatty food because I ran and cycled everywhere and played touch rugby during any dryish interval or lunch hour on top of rugby training!

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  148. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    whereas most people recognize that it should be tempered by the need to make sure that land use does not impact unreasonably on their neighbours and the community. I bet you would object if your neighbour wanted to build a 50 story building and block out 100 % of your sun. So there should be some restrictions and those restrictions should be decided democratically. What other way is there?

    Bear in mind that do gooders who felt they knew best how people should tend their land caused bush fires in Australia a few years ago and resultant deaths that simply wouldn’t have happened if individuals had been left free to manage their land as they knew best.

    Your idea has good intentions that we can all see, but trying to help other people using coercive powers can be very dangerous and almost always has negative outcomes overall.

    Really the best possible upside I can see to the idea of controlling food outlets near schools is to delay calorie intake by 10 minutes.

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  149. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    The best way to prevent kids from loading up on pies is again what my mother did, she never gave me a dollar until I got my own job. My pockets were more often than not empty when walking to and from school.

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  150. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “Like any nanny state protagonist, in the pursuit of ideological purity (kids eating heathy foods) you are prepared to abbrogate both the rights on individuals to eat what they want in a free society and for businesses to ply their trade without excessive market distorting intervention with laws that will never achieve the lofty aims they set out to achieve.”

    No you are the ideologue, and I am the pragmatist. My policy is justified by real world outcomes, and I have cited evidence that kids who go to schools with many fast food outlets nearby are more obese. None of you have cited any evidence at all. Your policy is motivated by a dislike of abrogating the “rights” of individuals. I agree that it would stop someone doing something that they would otherwise do. But what is your point? That is what laws do. As long as we are not abrogating a fundamental right like the right to life (and I think everyone except the most lunatic libertarians agrees that it is justifiable to impose some limits on property owners, for example the 50 story building blocking out your sun) then the real question is whether it is a good law or not and whether the actual results of the new law in the real world are good or bad overall.

    I agree that we would need studies to check that it is working. But you somehow know already that it won’t work. You make bald assertions that it will make no difference because kids are resourceful and will just go further afield. Yes some of them will. But not all of them and not all of the time. It will reduce their intake of junk food. You disagree, but you have no evidence of this. This is the classic sign of the ideologue, you disagree not because of evidence because it conflicts with your ideology.

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  151. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    If it would make no difference then why is there evidence that kids that go to schools with more junk outlets next to them are more obese? According to you these kids should be exactly as obese as the kids in the other schools, because the kids in the other schools will just find ways to get junk food anyway.

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  152. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    ?

    You’re blinkered thinking is truly disturbing and respresentative of the danger of ideological thinkers like yourself.

    You say that the people who disagree with you have no evidence yet you state studies need to be done, therefore you don’t the information you need to justify your position.

    Why don’t you go and conduct and pay for these studies yourself, then post the results and we’ll pull your methodology and conclusions to pieces for you.

    Just have a go at outlining how you would do this study first.

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  153. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    # willtruth (71) Says:
    January 26th, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    If it would make no difference then why is there evidence that kids that go to schools with more junk outlets next to them are more obese? According to you these kids should be exactly as obese as the kids in the other schools, because the kids in the other schools will just find ways to get junk food anyway.

    Because the existence of these outlets is indicative of the culture of these neighbourhoods.

    The distribution of food outlets is not random, it feeds the differing demands of various communities.

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  154. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Herman,

    I already posted a study showing that kids who go to schools with more junk food nearby are more obese. Here it is again.

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/3/505

    I say that this study and the many others appear to confirm the common sense notion that if kids find it easier to buy junk food then they will buy more junk food. You question this, but you have no evidence. You say it is indicative of the culture in the neighbourhoods. Yes, that is possible that this has an effect, and there might be other confounding factors. But researchers always have methods to correct for such confounding factors. Can you cite any evidence that these methods were unsuccessful in all these cases? Or would you just prefer to believe that the study must be flawed because its results conflict with your ideology?

    You say that they fact that I say that studies need to be done, means that I don’t the information you need to justify my position. I think the existing studies establish a prima facie case for trialing a policy of regulation. I speak of further studies yes, but in order to evaluate the effect of the trial. These can’t be done until you have a trial. You seem to have a basic misunderstanding of science.

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  155. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Scientist says…
    We have a theory based on previous studies that predicts the existence of the Higgs boson. If we could confirm it it would revolutionise our understanding of physics and have many unforeseen benefits. I think we should do an experiement to test this theory.

    Herman …
    The Higgs boson doesn’t exist. All of those previous studies might be flawed. We shouldn’t waste any effort on the experiment.

    Scientist …
    The previous studies might be flawed yes, but most scientists can’t see anything wrong with them at the moment. If we don’t do the experiment we will never know

    Herman …
    Look I know already. It doesn’t exist. I never saw any Bosons when I was a kid. Also, Bosons are not consistent with my personal theory that everything is made of tiny marshmallows. Plus you have already admitted that you don’t know it exists because you admit that the studies to prove it exists haven’t been done.

    Scientist …
    But that’s why we need to do the studies .. oh never mind…

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  156. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    19th century scientist in London says …
    We have developed a theory of disease called the germ theory. It says that tiny organisms can live in water and make us sick. I think we should stop putting sewage into cesspits which can leak into people’s water supplies, this might be the reason why so many people are getting sick. We already have studies that indicate that the germs really exist, and that people drinking contaminated water can get sick. I think we have reached the point where we should do a trial and build some public sewers to deal with the waste safely and keep the water clean.

    Herman’s great great grandfather …
    Are you crazy? That would cost money. Your so-called germ theory is based on studies which might be flawed. I can think of lots of flaws off the top of my head.

    Scientist…
    Yes we thought of those flaws too. But we have tested them and it seems like the theory is probably correct. The time has come to do a trial in the real world. We will need to do studies to make sure that it does work in the real world of course. If it doesn’t work then I guess it is back to the drawing board. But I am pretty sure that it would work.

    Herman’s great great grandfather …
    Aha, so you admit that you don’t have the evidence yet. You still need to do more studies.

    Scientist
    No we have a lot of evidence. But we would be stupid if we did not do a further study to evaluate the effect of the trial.

    Herman’s great great grandfather …
    This is all a waste of time. Germs don’t exist. I have never seen a germ. Dirty water never hurt anyone, it’s good for your immune system. I drank water from right next to a cesspool everyday when I was a kid and I survived. My father did the same and he lived to the ripe of old age of 47! Anyway, even if you are right, we can’t people just take individual responsibility? If you are so concerned about germs you should boil your water, or just drink beer like I do, and leave the rest of us alone.

    Scientist…
    I do boil my water most of the time. But sometimes it is hard to do. And when I’m at someone else’s house or at a restaurant I don’t know whether it has been boiled or not. And many don’t bother at all. And what about children? Wouldn’t it be safer for everyone if we tried to find a way to fix this problem?

    Herman’s great great grandfather …
    There is no problem. And even if there was we should let the free market fix it. If there really is such a thing as germs then restaurants who don’t boil their water will be less successful than restaurants who do because many of their customers will die off. Face it, this is just a way for meddling bureaucrats to interfere with our freedoms and charge us even more tax for their stupid pet projects.

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  157. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    willtruth,

    You clearly have very little appreciation of the scientific process, as I can see by the joke link you provided.

    The existence of a link again is not of primary consequence, there ultimately will be one otherwise the BMI of Kenyans would be the same as the US.

    I really have no more interest in disussing this further with you.

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  158. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Herman. Thanks for your expert input.

    On the one hand I have two PhDs who published a study in the American Journal of Public Health which “…controlled for student- and school-level characteristics…” and concluded “…exposure to poor-quality food environments has important effects on adolescent eating patterns and overweight. Policy interventions limiting the proximity of fast-food restaurants to schools could help reduce adolescent obesity.”

    On the other hand I have a guy who can’t cite any studies conducted by anyone else to refute any of this, and can only talk about possible confounding effects (which the authors explicitly state they have taken into account and corrected for).

    If I were you I’d stop talking to me as well, your position on this is looking very shaky and probably couldn’t withstand any more rational argument.

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  159. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    willtruth,

    I have a far more thorough study run from 1949-1990 that clearly shows freedom and free markets provide far greater health and prosperity for people than controlled economies, although I must admit low BMI was probably one of the only competitive statistics.

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  160. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    wow, someone is actually citing some evidence. Well kind of. Shame you forgot to name the title of the article, its authors, and a hyperlink to the article. Care to share?

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  161. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    WillTruth said…
    I already posted a study showing that kids who go to schools with more junk food nearby are more obese. Here it is again.

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/3/505

    Aha, the authors of the paper used Multiple Linear Regression (MLR). How reliable is this method? Well it’s almost useless when applied to evolving complex system. Why the hell is called scientific studies? There is no science in there. Well, I know MLR algorithm inside out, since I developed it into commercial use. It is most likely that the authors used a statistical package in their study, such as SPSS or SAS and the likes. The methods used were statistical. It means that a statistician could have done that study and be labelled science (which it shouldn’t be). It should be called statistical study and not scientific study. This is exactly the sort of studies that great Physics Nobel Laureate, Richard Feynman was talking about in his lecture @ Caltech in the 1970s on Cargo-cult Science.

    Feynman said…
    This method became organized, of course, into science. And it developed very well, so that we are now in the scientific age. It is such a scientific age, in fact that we have difficulty in understanding how witch doctors could ever have existed, when nothing that they proposed ever really worked–or very little of it did.

    WillTruth quoted:
    The Higgs boson doesn’t exist. All of those previous studies might be flawed. We shouldn’t waste any effort on the experiment.

    What was your point here? That comment is nonsense & stupid. Physics theories are all about internal consistency of mathematical derivation/models. If the derivation showed inconsistency, then it should be dismissed right away. The existence of Higgs bosons has been shown to be rigorously internal consistence. Everything that has been experimentally confirmed/observed in Physics to date (such as quarks, etc,…) had been shown in their derivations to be internally self-consistent. Such derivations (or predictions) have usually been made/published decades ahead before they’re being experimentally verified, when technology has caught up. Note, here that the claims made as a result in the models & theories used in climate science have no equivalent or counterpart in fundamental physics. This means that whatever they say about the outcome in their models (i.e., climate models), one can never be guaranteed that the prediction is reliable, because there is no way to check internal consistencies in climate models.

    Willtruth said…
    On the one hand I have two PhDs who published a study in the American Journal of Public Health …

    Yep, the 2 PhDs of the types that Prof. Feynman was talking about in his lecture on Cargo-cult science. Over recent years, there were 2 Professors/PhDs who published their work in a book title: The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, where the left are going orgasmic about the book. If you look at the analysis method the authors used in that book, then you see that it is nothing more than kindergarten uni-variate statistics, which is pretty much useless.

    Finally, you have completely missed the point of most commentaters here. If you’re fat kid, then tough luck. It’s your parents’ fault and no one else. The community or society or the take-away shop owner are not to be blamed. Where is the self-responsibility there? Get the busybodies out of the way, and that’s the main arguments of posters here. You & Luc on the other way argue that the state should nanny those fat kids by perhaps making law to ban take-away shops from setting up close to schools. That’s a rights violation.

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  162. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Willtruth, I just posted a reply to you but I think that my message has been caught up in DPF’s spam filter, because it didn’t appear after I pressed the submit button. I included a few links (perhaps too many) in my message, therefore I suspect that the filter thinks it’s a spam.

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  163. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    What, you don’t know what I am talking about willtruth?

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  164. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Enough of your excuses the both of you. If you any evidence to back yourselves up then post the links. Otherwise just admit that you are full of hot air

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  165. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    If you are talking about communism Herman then I agree that a totalitarian dictatorship can be bad for people’s health. But that is not what I am proposing. And I could just as easily say point out a nanny state like sweden has much higher life expectancies than the USA. But such examples are a bit general for our purposes here. I want to know why you are so sure that the study I cited is flawed even though they adjusted for the kind of confounding factors you are worried about. I don’t expect you have anything though. if there was anything of substance behind your bluster it would have come out by now.

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  166. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Ha Ha.

    How old are you willtruth, don’t you know the DDR?

    Here are some economics nobel prize winners to help you understand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNbYdbf3EEc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P9Y4H2GyS4

    If I knew … that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.
    - Henry David Thoreau

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  167. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Willtruth:

    You make massive assumptions about that study, you say you are satisfied with the statement “…controlled for student- and school-level characteristics…”, no intelligent person would be satisfied by that.

    Regardless of the multitude of issues I would need to be satisfied with to consider the study worthwhile information it does not matter.

    There is no case for limiting peoples freedoms in a case such as this where no other perons freedoms are involuntarily harmed.

    You introduction of Sweden is another case we could discuss at length and the macro issues are relevant. Control advocates always disregard historical examples such as Russia, Eastern Europe, and China, claiming that it was economic control poorly executed and if it was only done right it would work. But this is the point, moves to assert command on the economy by a few experts will always take an economy in the direction that ultimately results in what you found in Eastern Europe, who are todays most ardent supporters of free markets.

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  168. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Ok I already know that there are general critiques of socialism by geniuses , just as there are general critiques of free markets by other geniuses. But that doesn’t really help us here . I am not an idealogue. I know that free markets have their place and are really useful a lot if the time. But sometimes intervention can also be useful. Even Hayek thought that the state should sometimes intervene and have a role in the economy. It depends on the situation. In this situation we have evidence that fast food near schools is bad for health. Like hayek, i think there can be times that the state should intervene. And this is almost certainly one of them. Provided the evidence stacks up of course. You asserted that the study was flawed, but you cannot demonstrate why it is flawed.

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  169. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    A persons health does not impact on another persons freedoms, therefore it is of no concern to the state.

    And you don’t have evidence of poor health outcomes.

    Hayek and Friedmans support of some functions of the state does not imply support to all endeavours of the state. Friedman did not agree that smoking or drugs should be subject to the forms of government control which they are.

    The fact that there are criticisms of socialism and free markets does not make those criticisms equivalent. History shows us that free markets are plainly superior to socialist tendencies and greatly so.

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  170. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “You make massive assumptions about that study, you say you are satisfied with the statement “…controlled for student- and school-level characteristics…”, no intelligent person would be satisfied by that.”

    Well I guess I just think that – unless there is some reason to doubt them – the authors of a scientific study are not lying or are not idiots when it comes to reporting their findings and their methods and reaching their conclusions. I am interested that you are so quick to dismiss them when presumably you are not qualified as an epidemiologist and probably haven’t even read the whole article. I am forced to conclude that the reason you so quickly dismiss their conclusions is that they conflict with your ideology. Especially when the only thing you can find to try and refute the study is a video of Hayek et al making general critiques of socialism. I expect if you asked Hayek about this specific case you would possibly agree that it is a good idea, because he ruled about some government interventions. It is only the most extreme libertarians who rule out all interventions.

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  171. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    Why aren’t you advocating banning ‘fast food’ entirely willtruth? I don’t understand why you are picking on children when the vast majority of weight related health costs are caused by adults.

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  172. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “And you don’t have evidence of poor health.”
    But didn’t I just cite a study which showed that fast food near schools causes obesity? Or are you one of those people who thinks that being obese is not unhealthy? Sigh …

    “A person’s health does not impact on another persons freedoms, therefore it is of no concern to the state.”
    Aha so this is your back up argument. Even if it is true that the policy would improve health, you still wouldn’t want to do it, for the purely ideological reason that you don’t think the state should try to support parents who are trying to raise healthy children by exercising a modicum of control over the amount of new fast food joints clustering around the schools.

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  173. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    willtruth,

    What was the monetary cost of healthcare that your study established?

    What was the definition of fast food used?

    What was the size of the zone of exclusion needed to observe a result in the study?

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  174. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Why aren’t you advocating banning ‘fast food’ entirely willtruth?

    Because he knows better, as all do-gooders do. He can dictate what children should and shouldn’t eat because he knows is good for them.

    Nothing will convince or let him see the contrarian argument. After all, he has all the academic studies and statistics in the world to prove his point, so bugger the rights and freedom of choice of the people involved. The mythical greater good shall prevail.

    Another fine product of our socialist education system.

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  175. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “Why aren’t you advocating banning ‘fast food’ entirely willtruth? I don’t understand why you are picking on children when the vast majority of weight related health costs are caused by adults.”

    OK so you are starting to shift your arguments. Fair enough. You clearly have lost the argument over whether the policy would be effective as a way to improve the health of children. So you are shifting to a reductio ad absurdum type argument. In other words, where will it end? Even if it is effective, if we intervene in one small aspect of society why don’t we go the whole hog and intervene in every aspect?

    It’s a matter of balance, and pros and cons. This is a targeted intervention that would only apply in a few areas. And it helps a vulnerable population in their formative years, and could set them many of up for a life of good health, ratherthan condemn them to get diabetes in early adulthood. It would be a much bigger deal to ban fast food across the entire country and it would probably be impossible.

    Anyway, good night. If you manage you come up with some evidence to back up your claims that the study is flawed I promise I will look at them in the morning. Maybe you could send some peer reviewed studies next time? Rather than youtube clips.

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  176. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    “A person’s health does not impact on another persons freedoms, therefore it is of no concern to the state.”
    Aha so this is your back up argument. Even if it is true that the policy would improve health, you still wouldn’t want to do it, for the purely ideological reason that you don’t think the state should try to support parents who are trying to raise healthy children by exercising a modicum of control over the amount of new fast food joints clustering around the schools.

    Absolutely. It is not the governments business.

    You seem to have an intellectual dissonance in your idea, you say if a study supports it , the idea must be applied. Why are you ignoring the case of adults? Fast food causes more weight issues in adults than it does in children.

    If you are ‘supporting’ parents, why limit the zone of exclusion to schools, why not movie theatres, malls, beaches and the rest of the community?

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  177. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    It’s a matter of balance, and pros and cons. This is a targeted intervention that would only apply in a few areas. And it helps a vulnerable population in their formative years, and could set them many of up for a life of good health, ratherthan condemn them to get diabetes in early adulthood. It would be a much bigger deal to ban fast food across the entire country and it would probably be impossible.

    Ah, I see, you have the special wisdom to make these decisions whereas school kids and their parents only have mundane knowledge.

    You and your ilk are despicable to me willtruth. I want nothing more than you to be kept away from my children.

    When was the last time you had fast food yourself by the way?

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  178. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    willtruth, you are nothing but a bloody totalitarian. Go away.

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  179. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    willtruth
    You hang your hat on the one California study and you provide links only to an abstract. I’ve been around academia long enough (son of a professor and various currrent friends in senior university teaching positions) to know that there are varying qualities of studies. It would be useful to link to the full study so that methodologies are fully detailed. Furthermore if you’ve ever been involved with the formation of public health related policies that stem from studies that then lead to legislative decisions such as the one you are suggesting, the law changes come after a particular course of action becomes clearly preferrable only when there is a preponderance of clearly identified positive outcomes as evidenced by a good number of peer reviewed studies done in a variety of locations over a period of time (usually a decade). I would venture to say that the correlation you site as justification for this intervention may not yet be strongly proven in enough peer reviewed literature.

    But let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is proven. That presupposes that it is the role of government to regulate the availability of certain types of food and that it is the right of the state to intervene in deciding what children should and shouldn’t eat. Like all state intervention proponents, the ends always justifies the means. The state knows best – because parents are naughty and dont teach their children to eat healthy food then they cannot be trusted because they are their own worst enemy and so they need to be saved from themselves by enlightened and highly educated (TWO PhDs) people such as yourself. The arrogance of people like you knows no bounds. Even if you can prove that x nbumber of restaurants within the vicinity of schools causes a y increase in obesity then who then decides the optimal safe number of fast food restaurants? Which bureaucrat with a PhD gets to make that decision? How will we ever know precisely the right ban to impose? Do we ban all fast food or do we have a fat content threshold so that a McDonalds within 2 km of a school can exist but only on a restricted menu? What about the rights of the adults in the catchment of the McDonalds who must now suffer a restricted menu for the sake of the health of the kids that go to school? Lets say that the fatty items on the menu are restricted during school hours only to overcome that objection? What do we do with existing restaurants – are their menus to be restricted? If there are already 5 fast food outlets within a 2km radius of school x what policy will actually produce the outcome the social engineers like you are seeking? Is it merely an ordinance that says no more NEW fast food outlets you are seeking? What is the optimal number to ensure healthy kids in the schools – 2, 4 or is it 6? Does the state pay for academics like you to study this? It would take a decade to get any meaningful data as to what the optimal number is? Lets say it’s decided by ado-gooder committee of interventionist fellow travellers that 2 IS the optimal number and there are currently 5 in the vicinity of said school. What is the nanny state to do? If we merely so no more new outlets can be opened then there is no positive health outcome. That wont do. The state must use its power of coercion to force a good outcome here – the law must allow for the shutting down of existing fast food outlets within the proscribed distance from the school ortherwise ban on new outlets only would not save enough kids from themselves!

    Can you see the absurdity of your proposition? This is what happens when you seek to tinker and socially engineer to this level. Who decides these things? Unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats supported by elistist ivory tower types like you. Is it any wonder that when left leaning governments in New Zealand start to tell us whether our kids can eat a pie at school, what light bulbs we can use and the shower nossles we can instal, the people say get stuffed – we’re voting you out.

    All the studies in the world can be trotted out by people like you but middle NZ parents will say – you know WE will be the arbiter of what our children eat NOT THE STATE. Statists like you just don’t get it – to you the state is all knowing all wise and must save us uneducated peasants from ourselves. Get a grip and spare us your pragmatism. My kids will be healthy because WE DECIDE to eat healthy food at home and promote their sporting activities not because the State MAKES US!

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  180. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “Get a grip and spare us your pragmatism”

    Thank you kiwi_in_america for acknowleging that the source of your opposition is ideological. Though you and Herman are still failing around trying to find flaws with the study, you at least are admitting more and more what this is about. In other words, even if you know that an intervention will improve health massively you would not even consider doing it because you are against all interventions as a matter of principle.

    “…you have completely missed the point of most commentaters here. If you’re fat kid, then tough luck.”

    Actually Falafulu I get that point loud and clear. That in fact was my point, that you are not interested in improving health, because you are more interested in promoting absolutist and ideologically pure notions such as that property owners should have the absolute right to do whatever they want on their properties no matter what.

    So let’s repeal the law against the sale of tobacco and alcohol to children. Never mind that it is a proven policy intervention which – if it was removed – would result in massive damage to the health of the population. That is not the point. The point is that it interferes with the Rand-given right of property owners to do whatever the hell they want on their property and to sell whatever they want to whoever they want on their properties. This is a sacrosanct right because … well it’s basically the same as living under a totalitarian communist dictatorship otherwise. The state should but out, what gives them the right to say what kids should and should not buy? All the studies in the world can be trotted out by people like you but middle NZ parents will say – WE will be the arbiter of what our children drink and smoke NOT THE STATE. Statists just don’t get it – to them the state is all knowing all wise and must save us uneducated peasants from ourselves. Get a grip and spare us such pragmatism. Our kids will be healthy because WE DECIDE to moderate their alcohol and tobacco intake, not because the State MAKES US!

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  181. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “Is it any wonder that when left leaning governments in New Zealand start to tell us … what light bulbs we can use … the people say get stuffed – we’re voting you out.

    On light bulbs, if people don’t want a law to phase them out, then that’s fine, it’s a democracy. However if they had wanted to have such a law I would hope that you would also respect the will of the people and not fall back on your ideological notions that even if 99% of the people agree that does not give them the right to tell the other 1% what to do.

    The light bulb issue is actually a perfect illustration of the triumph of ideology over common sense. Theory would say that if energy efficient light bulbs are so advantageous then people will use them anyway. Let the market decide. The latest bulbs are exactly the same as the old bulbs in every respect, except that they use a tiny fraction of the energy. Unlike the earlier models, they put out exactly the same light, they don’t take time to warm up, and they can be used with dimmer switches. And yet people were still buying the old ones. Mainly I think they were doing this because there was not enough of an incentive on retailers to sell them, despite that economic theory would say, it didn’t work in practice.

    A libertarian would say it doesn’t matter why they are still buying the old bulbs. That is their absolute right, and the state should not interfere as a matter of principle, even if the majority of the people favour a law to phase out the old bulbs.

    A pragmatist would say that – if the majority of people are in favour of a law – why not have a law? Yes it interferes with the right of some to buy the old inferior bulbs. But is this a fundamental right like the right to life? Not at all. What is lost by circumscribing the right? Nothing. What is gained? We won’t have to build a massive new power station that will cost a billion dollars. I’d rather save save a billion dollars, provided I had the support of the majority in our democracy. But you would rather preserve a trivial “right”, no matter what the cost to the rest of us.

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  182. Herman Poole (297 comments) says:

    You don’t have the faintest understanding of what you are talking about willtruth.

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  183. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    willtruth
    You’d make George Orwell proud. As per usual with the left, rather than engage the substance of what I wrote, you resort to slogans (“you’re the ideologue”). I asked for links to the whole study and you provide none. You exhibit blind faith in this experiment in food control on the basis of ONE study. Even left tilting bureaucrats will at least not move to impose such intrusions unless there is a preponderance of evidence from a cluster of peer reviewed studies. Please show us this cluster to support your contention.

    Your next mistake is to liken fast food to alcohol and tobacco – a pathetic and meaningless comparison and one that every man on the street would reject as being not a valid comparison. There are degrees of harm and fast food does not rise to the level of harm caused by these substances particularly to children. I support the right of the state to regulate these (and other) more dangerous substances. Cars cause more harm to children than McDonalds (through traffic accidents even as passengers). NZers support the right of the government to require seat restraints and to restrict the age of driving but we don’t ban cars because cars can be and are dangerous.

    You speak of the democratic will of the people so glibly. The reality is that state intervention purists like you infest the permanent bureaucracy and inflict on the rest of this nanny state stuff. If the issue of light bulbs was put to a referendum (especially when it is pointed out the toxic mercury inside the new enviro friendly bulbs that is released into a home if one shatters or is dropped), I can guarantee you it would go down 80/20. All your talk of the energy saved was drowned out by two major parental concerns – the first being the toxic risks of the broken bulb and the second being the resistence to this level of state intervention in our private lives again all for the sake of ideology – in this case the belief that banning incandescent light bulbs in NZ will meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The power saved if every light bulb was replaced by energy efficient bulbs would not replace the MW output of a huge multi billion dollar power station so your utopian dream of the economy being saved billions is nothing more than an exaggeration that undermines the case you are making.

    Likewise your efforts to encourage restrictions on the sale of fast food. In the ivory tower you all gaze at each others statist/socialist navels and pontificate on the wonderous good that the beneficent state, when guided by the truly educated and enlightened, can save children through regulation from the ravages of KFC. Out here in the real world if your initiative was put to a ballot (which fortunately in the state that I live in such lunatic ideas must be put to the people), it too would go down in flames. Even if you were to mount a massive ‘education’ campaign extolling the vitrues of the ban and the evils of fast food it would still go down in flames. Why? Because the vast majority of NZers are ‘ideologues’ and oppose this nanny state nonsense. We dont oppose it because we are all idealogues as you suppose, we oppose it because we instinctly know that there are limits to where and what the state can and should intervene in. In case you think I’m just speculating about how the great unwashed feel about the state interfering in family child rearing matters, I merely refer you to the results of the smacking referendum – 87/12 against criminalising smacking.

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  184. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    (yawn…!..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  185. KiwiGreg (3,181 comments) says:

    “it’s a democracy. However if they had wanted to have such a law I would hope that you would also respect the will of the people and not fall back on your ideological notions that even if 99% of the people agree that does not give them the right to tell the other 1% what to do.”

    Yeah particularly if they wanted to reintroduce slavery or take votes of women or minorities, you’d be totally ok with “democracy”.

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  186. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    On the issue of the light bulbs, if industry can come up with an efficient energy saving lightbulb that is non toxic and reasonably affordable then people would OF THEIR OWN ACCORD buy them but not because the state coerced them into buying them. I’m all in favour of efficient light bulbs but not ones that the government makes me buy.

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  187. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg
    Do you really think that if the reintroduction of slavery or taking the votes off women or minorities were put to a referendum vote that ANY democracy would vote in favour of it? If you do then you really don’t know anything about human nature and the innate goodness of people and how that is reflected in how electorates vote.

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  188. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    kiwi-in-america

    I’m glad you have changed your position from saying that the state should never intervene as a matter of principle, to a position where you are saying that the state SHOULD intervene when the evidence of harm and the potential for reducing it exists (i.e with tobacco or alcohol). Now that you have become a “statist” (to use your terminology) the only thing you disagree with me on is whether, in the case of fast food near schools, there is sufficient evidence of harm and sufficient potential to reduce the harm through intervention.

    That’s great, we can now have a more sensible conversation and talk about the evidence. Who knows, you may even convince me that in this particular case the evidence is not good enough to justify an intervention.

    Here’s a link to the full article as requested.

    http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/fast-food.pdf

    Now, you also criticised me for relying on one study. I just cited one because I wanted to give you an example. You all jumped up and down and said (without even reading it) that it must be wrong. Now that it is clear that it might be right you are now saying, oh well, that it’s only one study anyway, and it is stupid to be relying on one study.

    Well it’s one more study than any of you have cited:)

    But anyway, here’s another study, and I could send you more if you want.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VH5-50KWG3X-1&_user=3626285&_coverDate=11%2F30%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1622784745&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000061004&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=3626285&md5=3b67ccd75130ffb097febefeaffa846f&searchtype=a

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  189. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “The power saved if every light bulb was replaced by energy efficient bulbs would not replace the MW output of a huge multi billion dollar power station so your utopian dream of the economy being saved billions is nothing more than an exaggeration that undermines the case you are making.”

    Ok, take the Karapiro power station near Auckland as an example. Its output is 90 megawatts (not accounting for the fact that there is transmission loss, so not all that energy gets to the consumer). Or take the mother of all power schemes, the Clyde Dam, that cost so much it almost bankrupted the country, and resultws in the government having to flood the old town. It generates 432 megawatts.

    Say that we currently have two 100 watt light bulbs being used per person in NZ (probably an underestimate). That amounts to electricity usage of 860 megawatts (100 watts x two bulbs x 4.3 million people) . Say these bulbs are replaced by efficient bulbs that put out the same light but use 23 watts instead. The usage goes down to 197 megawatts.

    The difference is 663 megawatts, or over seven Karapiros, or about 1 and a half Clyde Dams.

    Don’t you hate it when facts get in the way of your story?

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  190. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    willtruth
    Nice try mate. As back up evidence you post to a study published in Health and Place. A cursory glance at this publication shows it to be a gathering place for people with a social engineering bent. This study could accurately be described as being set up to provide the outcome the do-gooding researchers desired and then was published in an obscure journal of fellow travellers – not the stuff that major changes in public policy are made of. The California study itself makes reference to the lack of supporting evidence of linking fast food outlet density to childhood obesity until they came to the rescue with their amazing study. The devil is always in the detail and the text of the study reveals how these researchers were able to get their results – they included any soda (soft drink) drunk in the last 24 hours and they included non chain fast food outlets (the US version of fish and chip shops). Interesting – because if the children drank soft drink at home (not uncommon particularly in homes where unhealthy food is common) that distorts the sample because their consumption of fat inducing drinks may not have been conusmed at the naughty fast food outlets. The inclusion of non fast food outlets where some fatty food may be on the menu distorts the sample because it increases the likelihood of an ‘offending’ restaurant being caught in the target zone close to the school and thus bring implicated in the increase in obesity. Finally whilst the authors of the CA study claim and trumpet statistical correlations between fast food outlet proximity and obesity the correlations are not huge or dramatic but merely above a standard statistical norm so that the study authors can make their “statistically significant” claim.

    Public health policy makers have been reluctant in most juristictions (excluding those bastions of extreme liberalism such as San Francisco and Berkeley, CA) to resort to the legislative interventions you propose precisely for the reasons I’ve cited twice now – the lack of a preponderance of quality peer reviewed studies pointing to a clearly defined health benefit from such an intervention. The CA study admits that prior studies (until their’s of course) lack any definitive conclusions on the subject. The Health and Place study would not be considered by the NZ Ministry of Health to be a mainstream reputable journal and so it’s findings would not have much weight. So like I said nice try.

    But of course you entirely miss my point which is typical of academics and that is that even if there were 10 peer reviewed studies that pointed to a strong correlation between poor childhood health outcomes and proximity of fast food restaurants to schools it would be the overwhelming consensus of most NZers that its none of government’s business to legislate for such an outcome. Again you adopt a black and white view to state intervention – I’m opposed to EXCESSIVE and NEEDLESS state intervention. I’m not a libertarian at all – my view that regulating the location of fast food restaurants being seen as overreach by the state is shared by I’d guess 80% of the population. You reside in the 20% who likes and welcomes the nanny state. Fortunately most people are more sensible.

    My point about the light bulbs (poorly made I admit) is the savings are overstated. Lighting consumes no more than 8% of total household power used. If we assume an average annual NZ household’s power usage at 5000 kw and assume a 50% aggregate lighting bill saving (because not every light can be replaced with a CFL) we are talking about a 3% aggregate power saving. Nationally that does add up but for the average household consumer, when faced with the mercury risk, they adjudge the health risk to outweigh the power saving. Once again – the vast majority of NZers believe it is not the role of the state to tell us what light bulb we can use. Let the market decide and when manufacturers can produce a power saving light bulb that doesn’t pose a health risk, we’d all be buying them by the boatload without the government telling us what to do.

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  191. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    KIA, please stop engaging this obnoxious socialist willtruth, who is one of those tyrannical do-gooders who will never accept being wrong.

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  192. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    manolo
    I know but its like shooting fish in a barrel!

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  193. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Ah, KIA, if ignorance is bliss, you must be exceptional blissful. Lucky you.

    The reasons why kids in the lower socio-economic deciles are often avoidably fat are well known, and it’s little, if not nothing to do with bad parenting. And those reasons are why fast food outlets understandably congregate around their schools. Although they are not, per se, the cause of the obesity, they don’t help matters. Pedantic queries like what is the optimal number to allow are simply time wasting distractions.

    KIA and his mates here are proof that Ricky Fitts was right.

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  194. Nookin (3,037 comments) says:

    Willtruth
    According to your formula, if we have a family of 5 sitting round the dinner table with a single 100 watt bulb burning then that counts as 10 bulbs?

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  195. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Luc
    I’m sure you’ve got a plethra of nanny state solutions on top of willtruth’s to attempt to stop kids from getting fat.

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  196. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Luc said…
    The reasons why kids in the lower socio-economic deciles are often avoidably fat are well known, and it’s little, if not nothing to do with bad parenting.

    Luc, the obese kids in south auckland are the faults of their parents. It has nothing to do with fast food (or very less). If all the fast food restaurants such as KFC, McDs, Burger King , Chinese Takeaways, etc,… from South Auckland are to be closed now, the kids there will still be fat after 5 years or more from now. What does that tell you? The problems is at home.

    I’ll tell you this. Islanders in South Auckland love eating fatty meat. Corned-beef (including canned ones), lamb-flaps, fatty pork-bellies, briskets, etc,…, because it makes you feel full easily. I eat these fatty meat too (its tasty) and it doesn’t have any effect on my weight (my stable weight is around 110 kg ) because I do exercise on a regular basis (training & heavy lifting in the gym 3 to 4 times a week) .These are the types of food that parents in South Auckland give their kids to eat, even for breakfasts (instead of cereals). I know a 10 year old fat island kid from Mangere where his parents give him a Palm corned beef can to take to school for his lunch. Some parents packed their kids lunch-boxes with taro, cassava, yams (too starchy) and cooked fatty meat for their kids to take to school. Of course these kids stopped by the McDs or KFC one or twice a week for fast food, but that’s not the cause. The cause of obesity is solely on the parents, and there is no law that would stop parents from being stupid like that in feeding their kids with fatty food.

    If you don’t believe me, I’ll invite you to come to South Auckland with me so that you can see it with your own eyes of what those kids their have to eat daily, the food prepared for them by their parents.

    Willtruth,

    You have cited many studies after studies, but those studies looked at correlation only. The studies didn’t attempt to link what the home environments of the children to the proximity of fast food shops to schools. Now, can you see some logic there or are you still enamored by the studies findings since it is something scientific and did by PhDs?

    Have you read my reply (January 27th, 2011 at 10:07 am) to you on this very thread (further up)?

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  197. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Falafulu and KIA,

    I welcome your critiques of the studies. While the experts who conduct such studies may recommend a certain course of action, those the experts may very well be wrong, experts are often wrong. It’s just that at the moment and from my perspective I have some experts coming to one conclusion, and and some anonymous guys on a blog who think they know more than the experts. You may very well know more than them, you may be geniuses for all I know. If you are right then I’m happy to agree that we shouldn’t try the policy.

    Where I still think you are illogical is where you say that – even if the studies are right – you still wouldn’t want to do it because it goes against what “right thinking kiwis” believe. I don’t know what they believe. I say leave it up to the democratically elected government to empower local councils to bring in the policy if they want it. The govt has to decide how many illogical types like you are out there and whether it is worth risking their electoral wrath in order to secure a massive gain for the health of NZers. Some governments do have the courage to do stuff like this. Helen Clark may have done a lot of things wrong, but she had the courage to bring in the smoking in bars ban. People said it was abrogating the freedom of smokers, and that if non-smokers didn’t want to breathe the smoke then they didn’t have to go to the pub. And that if there was a market for non-smoking pubs then publicans would set them up. She judged that even though it would really piss off a lot of irrational types like you who think that the market should always decide stuff like this, there were more people out there who might ultimately support it, and it was worth bringing in the ban because of the massive health benefits. And what do you know, she was right, people actually liked it. And no government would now dare to bring back smoking in bars. The people who once opposed it have mostly slunk off and most of them would probably now deny they ever opposed it. I bet you guys opposed it and I bet many of you now deny that you never opposed it.

    Of course sometimes it backfires. People in NZ didn’t like the lightbulb policy. Even though it was the logical thing to do, the electorate were not prepared to be logical on this issue, as is their right. And now NZ stands out as one of the few western countries not phasing out the lightbulbs (Oz is, the UK is, all of Europe is, the US is phasing out most of them). But that’s fine, that’s what people want and that’s democracy.

    I understand that there are a lot of people who oppose interventions like this, and I understand that sometimes they have electoral clout. I just don’t think they have as much clout as you think, as is illustrated by the smoking ban example. And I also don’t understand the mentality of such people. Why they wouldn’t want to do something when it has such a massive benefit.

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  198. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    KIA, you say ….”My point about the light bulbs (poorly made I admit) is the savings are overstated.”

    Actually, the point you made was that I was wrong to say that the light bulb policy could save us having to build a new power station. You said…

    “The power saved if every light bulb was replaced by energy efficient bulbs would not replace the MW output of a huge multi billion dollar power station..”

    Which I then subsequently disproved in my comment above, by showing it would save us at least one and a half Clyde Dams. I know you’re embarrassed about being caught out, but don’t make it worse by trying to revise what you said. It’s up there in the comments section for all to see.

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  199. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Helen Clark may have done a lot of things wrong, but she had the courage to bring in the smoking in bars ban.

    A dyed-in-the-wool worshipper of Helen Clark has spoken. His Labour-red colours are exposed for all to see.
    It shows this avowed socialist has not forgotten his mentor and ideological icon and longs for her return from the U.N.

    Fortunately, the Halley comet will return earlier!

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  200. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    Manolo, I’m interested in whether you would be in favour of bringing back smoking in pubs. Would you be?

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  201. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    willtruth
    I’m glad that you are now understanding the essence of the argument but still your posts are infused with the arrogant assumption that educated people know what’s best for the unwashed masses. Equating the smoking ban with limiting the numbers of fast food restaurants is disengenuous. Once again most people support the state in its interventions over dangerous goods that kill. Smoking kills and the proof that it kills is overwhelming hence the public policy actions taken to restrict their sale and their use get mainstream support. The studies about fast food restaurants and childhood obesity are few and almost all (baring the two you use) are inconclusive. There is no equivalence between the smoking bans and the fast food bans you support.

    It’s not logical to force people to use lightbulbs with proven safety issues. Here in the US the new GOP controlled Congress is set to reverse the silliness in banning the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs so using the ‘rest of the world is enlightened except the Key Gov’t’ line is wearing thin although I’m sure you see the US electorate as rednecked and ill informed in so overwhelming rejecting the nanny state Democrats who got dealt with the most serious electoral reversal in over 60 years. The reason why: take a look at the EPA’s own guidelines for households who have to clean up a broken or damaged bulb http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.pdf

    You can’t fool people – no matter how much you extoll the virtues of CPL bulbs until these safety issues are resolved, consumers will resist efforts by do-gooding governments to MAKE people buy them. I note that after mentioning this issue in three posts now you studiously refuse to address the issue and, like the child with his hands over his ears saying Im not listening, you gloss over this huge issue as if it doesn’t exist because it rains on your neat ideological parade of government mandated nanny state interventions to make people do what academic theorists want. Until these low energy use bulbs are as safe as incandescent bulbs, voters will resist their compulsary introduction and punish legislators who are party to the compulsion.

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  202. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    Manolo, I’m interested in whether you would be in favour of bringing back smoking in pubs. Would you be?

    Yes, I would.
    Let the customers decide and put compulsion aside for once.

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  203. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    KIA, do you really want me to respond on the mercury issue? I couldn’t believe you were going all sue kedgley on me there. Yes mercury is poisonous and it makes sense to be a bit careful with disposal but do you realise that the long fluorescent bulbs that we have been using since the 1930s have way more mercury that the bulbs you are worried about? We all use these bulbs everyday already at work and in schools and sometimes at home and nobody seems to be worried. Why wasn’t everybody pulling their kids out of schools which all used these old bulbs? Because there was no problem with them. Not even the most paranoid delusional hippy chemical phobic was worried about them. And the concentrations are lower with the new bulbs so there is even less reason to be worried. Most countries realized this including the usa. I hadn’t realized the USA was reversing this so thanks for the update and it looks like another reason to be worried about the rise of tea party types who think you can see Russia from Sarah palin’s house

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  204. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    KIA you said…

    “Once again most people support the state in its interventions over dangerous goods that kill.”

    I agree. But clearly you are not among such people. Because you also think that…

    “…even if there were 10 peer reviewed studies that pointed to a strong correlation between poor childhood health outcomes and proximity of fast food restaurants to schools it would be the overwhelming consensus of most NZers that its none of government’s business to legislate for such an outcome.”

    But if there were ten such conclusive studies showing that fast food near schools and poor health was correlated in this way(and they had been carried out properly to control for confounding factors) then doesn’t that mean that we have shown that fast food near schools is a phenomenon that kills? Diabetes, heart disease, are things that kill. But you are saying that even if we have these studies that prove this you still don’t think that there should be an intervention. How is your position consistent? why would you intervene in relation to one proven killer and not another?

    I get that you don’t think there is enough evidence about fast food. I think you are wrong but we can agree to disagree on that. I still fail to understand how you can say that even if you thought there was evidence that you would still oppose it.

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