Sshhh! Please Don't Tell Mayor Bloomberg

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The Big Apple's mayor Michael Bloomberg is infamously behind recent bans on pleasurable (but unhealthy if taken to excess) experiences—smoking and eating transfats. Now comes

no burger

a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan which reports:

  • Residents of neighborhoods with the highest number of fast-food restaurants had a 13 percent higher relative risk of suffering ischemic strokes than those living in areas with the lowest numbers of restaurants.
  • The relative risk of stroke increased 1 percent for each fast-food restaurant in a neighborhood.

His honor could be inspired by the Los Angeles City council's effort last year to put a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in poor neighborhoods. Who can doubt that soon Big Macs, Whoppers, tubs of Extra Crispy KFC, Gordita Supremes, and Extra Large Philly Cheese Steak Pizzas will have be smuggled across the Hudson?

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  1. Ron,

    Don’t be silly. All the government needs to do it forbid fast food dealers from operating anywhere near places where kids go–schools, churches, playgrounds, homes, movie theaters, streets, porn shops, etc., etc., etc. A five-mile buffer zone should suffice to make the fast food invisible to children.

    Problem solved! Without impinging on the rights of business owners to sell their insidiously destructive poison.

  2. Don’t joke, Ron. Mikey is entirely capable of attempting such a ban.

  3. Why poor neighborhoods? We are supposed to be custodians of the poor’s eating habits?

    The right to coronary heart disease is now the priviledge one earns as a reward for moving into the middle class?

  4. – Residents of neighborhoods with the highest number of fast-food restaurants had a 13 percent higher relative risk of suffering ischemic strokes than those living in areas with the lowest numbers of restaurants.

    – The relative risk of stroke increased 1 percent for each fast-food restaurant in a neighborhood.

    Wow. People who like fatty, processec foods are more likely to eat at fast food joints, thereby increasing their number in the neighborhood.

    Cart, horse …

  5. “Why poor neighborhoods? We are supposed to be custodians of the poor’s eating habits?”

    Because the poor tend to be persons of color and as anyone can tell you, they all are childlike. They need the protections of government.

  6. Poor people tend to live in clusters.

  7. As someone who is overweight and pretty much constantly on a diet, I can tell you I do eat more fast food when it’s convenient (I recently moved to a place with less, which makes life easier).

    So fucking what. I eat it because I WANT to.

  8. Really, can we just divide up into two groups: one whose members want the government to protect them from the least little risk, and one whose members can handle “threats” like fast food and pornography without recourse to government regulation? Of course, those of us who opt out would also like limited government, free markets, and low taxes.

  9. So fucking what. I eat it because I WANT to.

    Want is desire. Desire is of the self. The self is a broken part of the whole, and must be subjugated by it. With finite wealth and value in this particular materialist existence, any part of the whole which desires more than that which the rest of it deigns to grant, to gift it, should be shut out and cut off. It is the will of the whole that governs its destiny, and it is up to the individual to die to achieve it.

    Government is simply a tool, one which Gaia uses to tune itself. What Gaia does is manifestly Good, since there is no Bad, so what government achieves is good to the extent which it allows itself to be taken bodily by the zeitgeist.

    Which is to say: your betters know what’s good for you, and there’s a squad of men with badges and tear gas grenades to talk to if you don’t like it.

  10. Psssst. Hey man, I got some dank chips and cookies over here. This shit’s the bomb, yo.

  11. Poor people tend to live in clusters.

    And smell like spoiled milk.

  12. My mom says there’s a lot of black people in Africa.

  13. In Austin, TX, there are virtually no groceries on the wrong side of the track. There’s a plethora of fast food venues. So what’s next for Nanny Mike? Mandating major grocery chains locate in poor neighborhoods? Being in Texas, we have a burgeoning Hispanic community. They quickly opened small grocery stores. There’s a wonderful store near where I live where I can buy ingredients for Mexican food. It’s a wonderfully vibrant market, especially on weekends when it takes on a village square feeling. My observation is that Hispanics cook inexpensive food at home while Blacks go for fast food. I do not understand this and welcome comments.

  14. @annftx: Your observations are anecdotal and hold no meaning. Your last statement is pretty much a textbook example of stereotyping. I’m no political correctness Nazi; actually I hate that kind of shit. Still though, your statement made me cringe.

  15. As someone who has stayed fit into my middle age I can say exercise is much more important than diet. Fat people are lazy. That’s the problem. So unless they deregulate poking fat people with cow prods nothing will change much.

  16. I hate the way the statistics associated with these studies get quoted. 13% percent higher risk compared with what? Is having your chance of a stroke go from, say, 1 in 10,000 to 1.13(then 1.14, 1.15, etc.) in 10,000 really significant?

  17. @David: Yeah people so often fail to understand that. It’s like when they say cell phone use increases your chance of a brain tumor by 50%.

    Right, from .0000001 to .00000015.

    Incidentally, that is the exact kind of BS statistic they love to use to pimp drug prohibition.

  18. Of course the dietary health of individuals is the business of the government. How are they going to keep costs down in the coming single-payer system, except by legislating away such causes of poor health as they can? Bloomberg and his ilk are just being proactive, thinking ahead. See also: smoking bans.

  19. How are they going to keep costs down in the coming single-payer system, except by legislating away such causes of poor health as they can?

    Except that the aren’t, because no one needs less health care than the dead, and no one needs more than the elderly.

  20. Really, can we just divide up into two groups: one whose members want the government to protect them from the least little risk, and one whose members can handle “threats” like fast food and pornography without recourse to government regulation?

    We already are. Unfortunately the second group is called “libertarian,” and the first group is everyone else.

  21. Roughly 780,000 strokes/year US.

    You could divide that by 300M and say annual risk of 1 in 385 but that is misleading as nearly all strokes occur in people over 45 with 2/3’s in people over 65.

    Your lifetime risk of death (note not occurrence of) from stroke is roughly 1 in 23, versus 1 in 5 for heart disease, or 1 in 7 from cancer. This is from ’02 data.

  22. LarryA,

    I meant officially, where we get to opt out of all of this nonsense and risk fatness and all the other too-perilous-to-face dangers.

  23. The time has come for government feeding centers.

  24. Progressives irritate me. They like to say that certain poor minorities are too stupid to make what they consider “responsible” decisions. What we need to do is spend all our tax money on soy protein or whatever for the poor, they insist (or demand).

    Don’t be surprised when they call you a racist for disagreeing.

  25. “The time has come for government feeding centers.”

    I believe they are called refugee camps.

  26. “Of course the dietary health of individuals is the business of the government. How are they going to keep costs down in the coming single-payer system, except by legislating away such causes of poor health as they can? Bloomberg and his ilk are just being proactive, thinking ahead. See also: smoking bans.”

    I don’t know if you’re joking or not, but you sound just like my professors.

  27. one whose members want the government to protect them

    You’re mistaking this bunch.

    They want to define, or be on the side of those defining, “risk” and “threat.”

    It’s not the same.

  28. I believe they are called refugee camps.

    Nope, community feeding centers. Right down the block from where you live.

    It will be great! Like the leader himself.

    Healthy mandated meals. Think of the savings.

    Think of all the evil things that will no longer be necessary: refrigerators, fast food shops, grocery stores…

    Just get in line to be weighed and the government will take care of the rest.

    You can trust the great Leader Obama.

  29. For emphasis!

  30. I will point out that the government action that public health advocates would most likely promote would be support for targeted education regarding healthier eating habits in those neighborhoods (recognizing JsubD’s point).

    In fact, that is the very action (with no mention of who pays) the authors of the study hint at (after making JsubD’s point).

    Relative risk:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_risk

  31. I don’t know if you’re joking or not, but you sound just like my professors.

    I’m pretty sure i’m not joking, and that scares me.

  32. Rhayader | March 4, 2009, 2:26pm | #

    @annftx: Your observations are anecdotal and hold no meaning. Your last statement is pretty much a textbook example of stereotyping. I’m no political correctness Nazi; actually I hate that kind of shit. Still though, your statement made me cringe.

    Way to take an honest observation and turn it into something else. Anneftx’s statement may be anecdotal, but that’s how lots of research starts. One could hypothesize that the answer lies somewhere between taste, culture, and socio-economic standing. How many Hispanics are going to be satisfied with Taco Bell when they can probably cook a better meal themselves and are used to doing so, if they are immigrants from countries without a lot of restaurants.

    Blacks on the other hand are not usually immigrants or second generation so they are likely more accepting of and accustomed to established American cuisine. If they have a lower socio-economic level (poor or “working poor” whatever the hell that means), fast food fits the budget more than table service restaurants and you could also argue its cheaper than a lot of things you could prepare for yourself because it’s mass produced.

    Blacks in the middle class would likely mirror their white counterparts. Some fast food, but more prepared dinners and table service restaurants.

    And, I did it all off the top of my head using my observations of life, for free. No stimulus bucks or university grants involved. Your welcome.

  33. Oh, and also, advertising works.

  34. There’s a wonderful store near where I live where I can buy ingredients for Mexican food. It’s a wonderfully vibrant market, especially on weekends when it takes on a village square feeling.

    The Fiesta off 35? Lol, I wonder where you’re talking about. That’s about the only grocery store east of 35. Not even a Wal-Mart for the East-siders.

  35. I can remember the days when New York didn’t have such a wuss reputation. Those were the days.

  36. I would have to guess that places that have higher concentrations of fast food restaurants tend to be more densely populated. They probably have more traffic. They probably have more stress-inducing stimuli than other places.

    They also tend, as has been noted, to be home to more consumers of fast food. The analysis offered may contain a bit of a chicken mcnugget and egg mcmuffin mystery.

    If there is any relevant causation on display here, it is sentient beings procuring desired foodstuffs from purveyors thereof and eating them. (That and inactivity and genetics and who knows what else…)

  37. Let me add one thing to Nick @ 4:01:

    Blacks have a disproportionately high number of single mothers, and even single mothers in the Hispanic community are likely to be living with their extended family.

    A single mother is unlikely to have the time (assuming she’s working) to do a lot of cooking, making fast food a likely choice for meals. An extended family is probably much more likely to eat home-cooked meals.

  38. And if there were a cart on the corner selling sushi, I’d probably eat that every day until I got mercury poisoning. What’s the point again?

  39. Fast food restaurants are often along heavily trafficked highways. Residential neighborhoods in close proximity to them probably have low property values and inexpensive housing. Poorer people will live there, poorer people have more health problems for lots of reasons. I bet it turns out that people living in close proximity to railyards, kennels, strip clubs and airports have poorer health, too.

  40. High school kids will stand on street corners, dealing Whoppers!

    Please think of the children!

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