Baylen Linnekin: Socially Engineering Food Choices Doesn't Work

To say that Los Angeles merely failed would be putting it mildly.



Earlier this week, the nonpartisan RAND Corporation released a study that helps demolish the argument that governments (cities, in this case) can socially engineer away residents' obesity by restricting food freedom.

The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, focuses on a ridiculous, controversial, seven-year-old zoning ban on new fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles. To say that the measure merely failed would be putting it mildly.

"Since the fast-food restrictions were passed in 2008, overweight and obesity rates in South Los Angeles and other neighborhoods targeted by the law have increased faster than in other parts of the city or other parts of the county," reads a RAND press release on the study.

The new study's release is fortuitous, coinciding as it does with a flurry of increased scrutiny over an ongoing FDA proposal to mandate an "added sugar" label on packaged foods.

This latest example of social engineering is, like the fast food ban, a terrifically misguided idea, writes Baylen Linnekin.